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FROM   MAX   WEBER:    Essays  m  Sociolosy 


From  Marianne  Weber's  Miix  Wtbci :  em  Lebensbild 


FROM  MAX  WEBER:   Essays  in  Sociology 


H.  H.   GERTH  and  C.   WRIGHT  MILLS 




Copyright  1946  by  Oxford  University  Press,  New  York,  Inc. 


X  rel; 


One  hundred  and  fifty  years  ago  A.  F,  Tytler  set  forth  three  Principles 
of  Translation:  To  give  a  complete  transcript  of  the  original  ideas;  to 
imitate  the  styles  of  the  original  author;  and  to  preserve  the  ease  of  the 
original  text.  In  presenting  selections  from  Max  Weber  to  an  EngHsh- 
reading  public,  we  hope  we  have  met  the  first  demand,  that  of  faithfulness 
to  the  original  meaning.  The  second  and  the  third  demands  are  often 
disputable  in  translating  German  into  English,  and,  in  the  case  of  Max 
Weber,  they  are  quite  debatable. 

The  genius  of  the  German  language  has  allowed  for  a  twofold  stylistic 
tradition.  One  tradition  corresponds  to  the  drift  of  English  towards  brief 
and  grammatically  lucid  sentences.  Such  sentences  carry  transparent  trains 
of  thought  in  which  first  things  stand  first.  Friedrich  Nietzsche,  Georg 
Christoph  Lichtenberg,  and  Franz  Kafka  are  eminent  among  the  repre- 
sentatives of  this  tradition. 

The  other  tradition  is  foreign  to  the  tendency  of  modern  English.  It 
is  often  felt  to  be  formidable  and  forbidding,  as  readers  of  Hegel  and 
Jean  Paul  Richter,  of  Karl  Marx  and  Ferdinand  Tonnies  may  testify. 

It  would  hardly  do  to  classify  the  two  traditions  as  'good'  and  'bad.' 
Authors  representing  the  first  believe  in  addressing  themselves  to  the 
ear;  they  wish  to  write  as  if  they  were  speaking.  The  second  group  ad- 
dress themselves  to  the  eye  of  the  silent  reader.  Their  texts  cannot  easily 
be  read  aloud  to  others;  everyone  has  to  read  for  himself.  Max  Weber 
once  compared  German  literary  humanism  to  the  education  of  the  Chinese 
Mandarin;  and  Jean  Paul  Richter,  one  of  the  greatest  of  German  writers, 
asserted  that  'a  long  period  bespeaks  of  greater  deference  for  the  reader 
than  do  twenty  short  sentences.  In  the  end  the  reader  must  make  them 
over  into  one  by  rereading  and  recapitulation.  The  writer  is  no  speaker 
and  the  reader  is  no  listener.  .  .'  ^ 

1  Vorschule  der  Aesthetik,  p.  382,  Sammtliche  Werke,  Vol.   18   (Berlin,  1841). 



It  is  obvious  that  this  school  of  writing  is  not  what  it  is  because  of  the 
inability  of  its  practitioners  to  write  well.  They  simply  follow  an  alto- 
gether different  style.  They  use  parentheses,  qualifying  clauses,  inversions, 
and  complex  rhythmic  devices  in  their  polyphonous  sentences.  Ideas  are 
synchronized  rather  than  serialized.  At  their  best,  they  erect  a  grammatical 
artifice  in  which  mental  balconies  and  watch  towers,  as  well  as  bridges 
and  recesses,  decorate  the  main  structure.  Their  sentences  are  gothic 
castles.  And  Max  Weber's  style  is  definitely  in  their  tradition. 

Unfortunately,  in  his  case  this  style  is  further  complicated  by  a  tendency 
to  Platonize  thought:  he  has  a  predilection  for  nouns  and  participles 
linked  by  the  economic  yet  colorless  forms  of  weak  verbs,  such  as  'to  be,' 
'to  have,'  or  'to  seem.'  This  Platonizing  tendency  is  one  of  Weber's  tributes 
to  German  philosophy  and  jurisprudence,  to  the  style  of  the  pulpit  and 
the  bureaucratic  office. 

We  have  therefore  violated  the  second  of  Tytler's  rules  for  translators. 
Although  we  have  been  eager  to  retain  Weber's  images,  his  objectivity, 
and  of  course  his  terms,  we  have  not  hesitated  to  break  his  sentence  into 
three  or  four  smaller  units.  Certain  alterations  in  tense,  which  in  English 
would  seem  illogical  and  arbitrary,  have  been  eliminated;  occasionally 
the  subjunctive  has  been  changed  into  the  indicative,  and  nouns  into 
verbs;  appositional  clauses  and  parentheses  have  been  raised  to  the  level 
of  equality  and  condemned  to  follow  rather  than  herald  the  main  idea. 
As  Weber  has  not  observed  Friedrich  Nietzsche's  suggestion  that  one 
should  write  German  with  an  eye  to  ease  of  translation,  we  have  had 
to  drive  many  a  wedge  into  the  structure  of  his  sentences.  In  all  these 
matters,  we  have  tried  to  proceed  with  respect  and  measure. 

But  we  have  also  broken  the  third  rule:  Whatever  'ease'  Weber  may 
have  in  English  is  an  ease  of  the  English  prose  into  which  he  is  rendered 
and  not  any  ease  of  the  original  work. 

A  translator  of  Weber  faces  a  further  difficulty.  Weber  frequently  be- 
trays a  self-conscious  hesitancy  in  the  use  of  loaded  words  such  as  democ- 
racy, the  people,  environment,  adjustment,  etc.,  by  a  profuse  utilization  of 
quotation  marks.  It  would  be  altogether  wrong  to  translate  them  by  the 
addition  of  an  ironical  'so-called.'  Moreover,  Weber  often  emphasizes 
words  and  phrases;  the  German  printing  convention  allows  for  this  more 
readily  than  does  the  English.  Our  translation,  in  the  main,  conforms  to 
the  English  convention:  we  have  omitted  what  to  the  English  reader 
would  seem  self-conscious  reservation  and  manner  of  emphasis.  The  same 
holds  for  the  accumulation  of  qualifying  words,  with  which  the  English 


language  dispenses  without  losing  in  exactitude,  emphasis,  and  meaning. 

Weber  pushes  German  academic  tradition  to  its  extremes.  His  major 
theme  often  seems  to  be  lost  in  a  wealth  o£  footnoted  digressions,  exemp- 
tions, and  comparative  illustrations.  We  have  taken  some  footnotes  into 
the  text  and  in  a  few  instances  we  have  relegated  technical  cross-references 
which  stand  in  the  original  text  to  footnotes. 

We  have  thus  violated  Tytler's  second  and  third  rules  in  order  to  fulfil 
the  first.  Our  constant  aim  has  been  to  make  accessible  to  an  English- 
reading  public  an  accurate  rendering  of  what  Weber  said. 

*        *        * 

We  wish  to  thank  the  editorial  staff  of  Oxford  University  Press  for 
their  encouragement  of  our  efforts.  Special  thanks  are  due  Mrs.  Patricke 
Johns  Heine  who  assisted  revisions  of  the  first  drafts  of  chapters  iv,  x,  and 
XII ;  and  to  Mr.  J.  Ben  Gillingham  who  performed  the  same  task  in  connec- 
tion with  section  6  of  chapter  xiii.  Miss  Honey  Toda  partially  edited  and 
retyped  many  pages  of  almost  illegible  manuscript  and  we  are  grateful 
for  her  diligence. 

We  are  grateful  for  the  valuable  assistance  of  Dr.  Hedwig  Ide  Gerth 
and  Mrs.  Freya  Mills.  The  administrative  generosity  of  Professor  Carl  S. 
Joslyn,  chairman  of  the  Department  of  Sociology,  the  University  of  Mary- 
land, and  the  support  of  Professor  Thomas  C.  McCormick,  chairman  at 
the  University  of  Wisconsin,  have  greatly  facilitated  the  work.  Professor 
E.  A.  Ross  has  been  kind  enough  to  read  chapter  xii  and  to  give  us  his 

One  of  our  translations,  'Class,  Status,  Party,'  has  been  printed  in 
Dwight  Macdonald's  Politics  (October  1944)  and  is  included  in  this  vol- 
ume by  his  kind  permission.  We  are  grateful  to  the  pubHshers,  Houghton 
MifHin  Company,  for  permission  to  reprint  a  revision  of  Max  Weber's 
paper  given  before  the  Congress  of  Arts  and  Science,  St.  Louis  Exposition 
of  1904. 

Responsibility  for  the  selections  and  reliability  of  the  German  meanings 
rendered  is  primarily  assumed  by  H.  H.  Gerth;  responsibility  for  the 
formulation  and  editorial  arrangement  of  the  EngHsh  text  is  primarily 
assumed  by  C.  Wright  Mills.  But  the  book  as  a  whole  represents  our 
mutual  work  and  we  are  jointly  responsible  for  such  deficiencies  as  it 
may  contain. 

Hans  H.  Gerth 
C.  Wright  Mills 

Taole  ol  (contents 


Preface,  v 

Introduction:  THE  MAN  AND  HIS  WORK 

/  ^  I.  A  Biographical  View,  3 
\     II.  Political  Concerns,  32 
>ij  {TlILVntellectual  Orientations,  45 
■"^^      \        **  I,  Marx  and  Weber,  46 

^y^  Bureaucracy  and  Charisma:  a  Philosophy  of  History,  51 
;       ^  3.  Methods  of  Social  Science,  55 
j  4.  The  Sociology  of  Ideas  and  Interests,  61 

\  5.  Social  Structures  and  Types  of  Capitalism,  65 

\    ,^6.  Conditions  of  Freedom  and  the  Image  of  Man,  70 


IV.  Politics  as  a  Vocation,  77 
V.  Science  as  a  Vocation,  129 

Part  II:  POWER 

VI.  Structures  of  Power,  159 

1.  The  Prestige  and  Power  of  the  'Great  Powers,'  159 

2.  The  Economic  Foundations  of  'Imperialism,'  162 

3.  The  Nation,  171 

VII.  Class,  Status,  Party,  180 

1.  Economically  Determined  Power  and  the  Social  Order,  180 

2.  Determination  of  Class-Situation  by  Market-Situation,  181 

3.  Communal  Action  Flowing  from  Class  Interest,  183 

4.  Types  of  'Class  Struggle,'  184 

5.  Status  Honor,  186 

6.  Guarantees  of  Status  Stratification,  187 
-  7.  'Ethnic'  Segregation  and  'Caste,'  188 

8.  Status  Privileges,  190 

9.  Economic  Conditions  and  Effects  of  Status  Stratification,  192 

10.  Parties,  194 



VIII.  Bureaucracy,  196 

I.  Characteristics  of  Bureaucracy,  196 
•«.  2.  The  Position  o£  the  Official,  198 

3.  The  Presuppositions  and  Causes  of  Bureaucracy,  204 

4.  The  Quantitative  Development  of  Administrative  Tasks,  209 

5.  Qualitative  Changes  of  Administrative  Tasks,  212 

-    6.  Technical  Advantages  of  Bureaucratic  Organization,  214 

7.  Bureaucracy  and  Lav/,  216 

8.  The  Concentration  of  the  Means  of  Administration,  221 
—    9.  The  Leveling  of  Social  Differences,  224 

10.  The  Permanent  Character  of  the  Bureaucratic  Machine,  228 

11.  Economic  and  Social  Consequences  of  Bureaucracy,  230 

12.  The  Power  Position  of  Bureaucracy,  232 

13.  Stages  in  the  Development  of  Bureaucracy,  235 

V  14.  The  'Rationalization'  of  Education  and  Training,  240 
\^1X.  The  Sociology  of  Charismatic  Authority,  245 

w-    I.  The  General  Character  of  Charisma,  245 
U    2.  Foundations  and  Instability  of  Charismatic  Authority,  248 
L.^3.  Charismatic  Kingship,  251 
X.  The  Meaning  of  Discipline,  253 

I.  The  Origins  of  Discipline  in  War,  255 

2.. The  Discipline  of  Large-Scale  Economic  Organizations,  261 

3.  Discipline  and  Charisma,  262 


XL  The  Social  Psychology  of  the  World  Religions,  267 
XII.  The  Protestant  Sects  and  the  Spirit  of  Capitalism,  302 

XIII.  Religious  Rejections  of  the  World  and  Their  Directions,  323 

1.  Motives  for  the  Rejection  of  the  World:  the  Meaning  of  Their 

Rational  Construction,  323 

2.  Typology  of  Asceticism  and  of  Mysticism,  324 

3.  Directions  of  the  Abnegation  of  the  World,  327 

4.  The  Economic  Sphere,  331 

5.  The  Political  Sphere,  333 

6.  The  Esthetic  Sphere,  340 

7.  The  Erotic  Sphere,  343 

8.  The  Intellectual  Sphere,  350 

9.  The  Three  Forms  of  Theodicy,  358 


XIV.  Capitalism  and  Rural  Society  in  Germany,  363 
XV.  National  Character  and  the  Junkers,  386 


XVI.  India:  The  Brahman  and  the  Castes,  396 

1.  Caste  and  Tribe,  398 

2.  Caste  and  Guild,  399 

3.  Caste  and  Status  Group,  405 

4.  The  Social  Rank  Order  of  the  Castes  in  General,  409 

5.  Castes  and  Traditionalism,  411 
XVII.  The  Chinese  Literati,  416 

1.  Confucius,  421 

2.  The  Development  of  the  Examination  System,  422 

3.  The  Typological  Position  of  Confucian  Education,  426 

4.  The  Status-Honor  of  the  Literati,  434 

5.  The  Gentleman  Ideal,  436 

6.  The  Prestige  of  Officialdom,  438 

7.  Views  on  Economic  Policy,  440 

8.  Sultanism  and  the  Eunuchs  as  Political  Opponents  of  the  Literati, 


Notes,  445 
Index,  469 



1.  A  ijiograpnical    V  lew^ 

Max  Weber  was  born  in  Erfurt,  Thuringia,  on  21  April  1864.  His  father, 
Max  Weber,  Sr.,  a  trained  jurist  and  municipal  counselor,  came  from  a 
family  of  linen  merchants  and  textile  manufacturers  of  western  Germany. 
In  1869  the  Webers  moved  to  Berlin,  which  was  soon  to  become  the 
booming  capital  of  Bismarck's  Reich.  There,  Weber,  Sr.  became  a  pros- 
perous politician,  active  in  the  municipal  diet  of  Berlin,  the  Prussian 
diet,  and  the  new  Reichstag.  He  belonged  to  the  right-wing  liberals  led 
by  the  Hanoverian  noble,  Bennigsen.  The  family  resided  in  Charlotten- 
burg,  then  a  west-end  suburb  of  Berlin,  where  academic  and  political 
notables  were  neighbors.  In  his  father's  house  young  Weber  came  to 
know  such  men  as  Dilthey,  Mommsen,  Julian  Schmidt,  Sybel,  Treitschke, 
and  Friedrich  Kapp. 

Max  Weber's  mother,  Helene  Fallenstein  Weber,  was  a  cultured  and 
liberal  woman  of  Protestant  faith.  Various  members  of  her  Thuringian 
family  were  teachers  and  small  officials.  Her  father,  however,  had  been 
a  well-to-do  official  who,  on  the  eve  of  the  1848  revolution,  had  retired 
to  a  villa  in  Heidelberg.  Gervinus,  the  eminent  liberal  historian  and  a 
close  friend  of  her  family,  had  tutored  her  in  the  several  humanist  sub- 
jects. Until  she  died,  in  1919,  Max  Weber  corresponded  with  her  in  long, 
intimate,  and  often  learned  letters.  In  Berlin  Helene  Weber  became  an 
overburdened  Hausfraii,  faithfully  caring  for  the  busy  politician,  the  six 
children,  and  a  constant  circle  of  friends.  Two  of  her  children  had  died 
in  infancy.  The  misery  of  the  industrial  classes  of  Berlin  impressed  her 
deeply.  Her  husband  neither  understood  nor  shared  her  religious  and 
humanitarian  concerns.  He  probably  did  not  share  her  emotional  hfe  and 
certainly  the  two  differed  in  their  feelings  about  many  public  questions. 
During  Max's  youth  and  early  manhood  his  parents'  relations  were  in- 
creasingly estranged. 

The  intellectual  companions  of  the  household  and  the  extensive  travels 
of  the  family  made  the  precocious  young  Weber  dissatisfied  with  the 



routine  instruction  of  the  schools.  He  was  a  weakly  child,  who  suflfered 
meningitis  at  the  age  of  4;  he  preferred  books  to  sports  and  in  early 
adolescence  he  read  widely  and  developed  intellectual  interests  of  his 
own.  At  the  age  of  13  he  wrote  historical  essays,  one  of  which  he  called, 
'Concerning  the  Course  of  German  History,  with  Special  Regard  to  the 
Positions  of  Kaiser  and  Pope.'  Another  was  'Dedicated  to  My  Own  In- 
significant Ego  as  well  as  to  Parents  and  Siblings.'  At  fifteen  he  was 
reading  as  a  student  reads,  taking  extensive  notes.  He  seemed  to  have 
been  preoccupied  from  an  early  age  with  the  balanced  and  qualified  state- 
ment. Criticizing  the  rather  low  tastes  of  his  classmates,  who,  instead 
of  Scott's  historical  novels,  read  contemporary  trash,  he  was  careful  to 
add:  'Perhaps  it  sounds  presumptuous  if  I  maintain  this  position,  since 
I  am  one  of  the  youngest  fellows  in  my  class;  however,  this  circum- 
stance strikes  one's  eyes  so  sharply  that  I  need  not  fear  that  I  am  not 
speaking  the  truth  if  I  state  it  in  this  manner.  Of  course,  there  are  always 
exceptions.'  He  appeared  to  be  lacking  also  in  any  profound  respect  for 
his  teachers.  Since  he  was  quite  ready  to  share  his  knowledge  with  his 
schoolmates  during  examinations,  they  found  him  likeable  and  some- 
thing of  a  'phenomenon.' 

Young  Weber,  'a  politician's  son  in  the  age  of  Bismarck's  Rcalpolitif{,' 
dismissed  the  universal  literary  appraisal  of  Cicero  as  bunk.  In  his  eyes, 
Cicero,  especially  in  his  first  Catilinarian  speech,  was  a  dilettante  of 
phrases,  a  poor  politician,  and  an  irresponsible  speaker.  Putting  himself 
in  Cicero's  shoes,  he  asked  himself  what  good  could  these  long-winded 
speeches  accomplish?  He  felt  Cicero  ought  to  have  'bumped  off'  {ab- 
murf(sen)  Catiline  and  squelched  the  threatening  conspiracy  by  force. 
After  detailed  arguments,  he  ended  a  letter  to  a  cousin:  'In  short,  I  find 
the  speech  very  weak  and  without  purpose,  the  whole  policy  vacillating 
with  regard  to  its  ends.  I  find  Cicero  without  appropriate  resolve  and 
energy,  without  skill,  and  without  the  ability  to  bide  his  time.'  The  older 
correspondent,  a  student  in  Berlin  University,  responded  by  intimating 
that  young  Weber  was  parroting  books  he  had  read.  In  self-defense 
Weber  repHed  sharply  but  with  dignity: 

What  you  have  written  sounds  as  if  you  believe  I  had  copied  from  some 
book,  or  at  least  that  I  had  rendered  the  substance  of  something  I  had  read. 
After  all,  that  is,  in  a  nutshell,  the  meaning  of  your  long  lecture.  You  seek 
to  bring  out  this  point  in  a  form  as  little  concrete  as  possible  because  you 
entertain  the  opinion  that  I  would  mind  an  opinion  which,  so  far  as  I  my- 
self know,  is  not  true.  Though  I  have  summoned  all  knowledge  of  myself, 


I  have  not  been  able  to  admit  that  I  have  let  myself  be  swayed  too  much  by 
any  one  book  or  by  any  phrase  from  the  mouth  of  my  teachers.  .  .  To  be 
sure  .  .  .  we  younger  ones  profit  in  general  from  treasures  that  you  seniors, 
and  I  consider  you  as  one  of  them,  have  garnered.  .  .  I  admit  that  probably 
everything  indirectly  stems  from  books,  for  what  are  books  for  except  to  en- 
lighten and  instruct  man  about  things  that  are  unclear  to  him?  It  is  possible 
that  I  am  very  sensitive  to  books,  their  comments  and  deductions.  This  you 
can  judge  better  than  I,  for  in  certain  respects  it  is  easier  to  know  someone 
else  than  oneself.  Yet,  the  content  of  my — perhaps  completely  untrue — state- 
ment does  not  come  directly  from  any  book.  For  the  rest,  I  do  not  mind  your 
criticism,  as  quite  similar  things  are  to  be  found  in  Mommsen,  as  I  have 
only  now  discovered.^ 

Young  Weber's  mother  read  her  son's  letters  without  his  knowledge. 
She  was  greatly  concerned  that  she  and  her  son  were  becoming  intel- 
lectually estranged.  It  is  not  strange  that  a  sincere  and  intelligent  adoles- 
cent, aware  of  the  difficulties  between  his  parents  and  observing  the 
characteristic  ruses  of  a  Victorian  patriarchal  family,  learned  that  words 
and  actions  should  not  be  taken  at  their  face  value.  He  came  to  feel  that 
if  one  wanted  to  get  at  the  truth,  direct  and  first-hand  knowledge  was 
necessary.  Thus  when  he  was  sent  to  'confirmation'  lessons,  he  learned 
enough  Hebrew  to  get  at  the  original  text  of  the  Old  Testament. 

Frau  Weber  worried  about  her  son's  religious  indifference.  She  wrote: 

The  closer  Max's  confirmation  approaches,  the  less  can  I  see  that  he  feels 
any  of  the  deeper  stimulating  influence  in  this  period  of  his  development 
which  would  make  him  think  about  what  he  is  asked  to  enunciate  before 
the  altar  as  his  own  conviction.  The  other  day,  when  we  were  sitting  alone, 
I  tried  to  get  out  of  him  what  he  thinks  and  feels  about  the  main  questions 
of  Christian  consciousness.  He  seemed  quite  astonished  that  I  should  presup- 
pose that  the  self-clarification  of  such  questions  as  the  belief  in  immortality 
and  the  Benevolence  guiding  our  fate  should  result  from  confirmation  lessons 
for  every  thinking  man.  I  felt  these  things  with  great  warmth  in  my  innermost 
being — independent  of  any  dogmatic  form,  they  had  become  the  most  vital 
conviction  .  .  .  [yet]  it  was  impossible  for  me  to  express  it  to  my  own  child 
in  such  a  way  that  it  would  make  any  impression  on  him.^ 

With  this  profound  and  personal  piety,  Helene  Weber  suflfered  under 
the  worldliness  of  her  external  family  life.  Nevertheless,  she  lovingly 
resigned  herself  to  the  somewhat  complacent,  self-righteous,  and  patri- 
archial  atmosphere  created  by  her  husband.  As  an  adolescent,  Weber 
had  less  and  less  of  a  common  ground  with  his  mother  in  serious  mat- 


ters.  It  was  not  that  he  was  drawn  to  his  father:  the  worldly  atmosphere 
of  modern  intellectual  life  drew  Weber  away  from  the  philistinism  of  his 
father  as  well  as  from  the  piety  of  his  mother. 

Although  respectful,  he  rebelled  against  the  authority  of  his  elders. 
Yet,  rather  than  take  part  in  the  'frivolous'  pursuits  of  his  classmates, 
the  boredom  of  school  routine,  and  the  intellectual  insignificance  of  his 
teachers,  he  withdrew  into  his  own  world.  Such  a  boy  would  not  sub- 
mit to  the  impositions  of  his  father.  The  thoughtless  manner  in  which 
his  father  used  his  wife  did  not  escape  the  discerning  eye  of  the  seven- 
teen-year-old boy.  At  one  point,  on  a  journey  to  Italy  with  his  father, 
he  was  admonished  for  not  living  up  to  the  appropriate  degree  of  stereo- 
typed tourist  enthusiasm.  Max  simply  declared  his  intention  of  returning 
home,  at  once  and  alone. 

The  confirmation  motto  that  Weber  received  was:  'The  Lord  is  the 
spirit,  but  where  the  Lord's  spirit  is,  there  also  is  freedom.'  Max  Weber's 
widow  in  her  biography  comments:  'Hardly  any  other  Biblical  motto 
could  better  express  the  law  governing  this  child's  life.' 

Weber's  pre-university  schooling  came  to  an  end  in  the  spring  of  1882. 
Possessed  of  exceptional  talent,  he  had  had  no  need  to  'strain.'  His  teach- 
ers, however,  attested  to  his  lack  of  routine  industry  and  doubted  his 
'moral  maturity.'  Like  many  nineteenth-century  thinkers,  he  made  a 
rather  unfavorable  impression  upon  his  teachers.  The  seventeen-year-old> 
stringy  young  man  with  sloping  shoulders  still  appeared  wanting  in 
appropriate  respect  for  authority. 

He  went  to  Heidelberg  and,  following  in  the  steps  of  his  father,  en- 
rolled as  a  student  of  law.  He  also  studied  a  variety  of  cultural  subjects, 
including  history,  economics,  and  philosophy,  which  at  Heidelberg  were 
taught  by  eminent  scholars.  He  accepted  provisional  membership  in  his 
father's  dueling  fraternity,  the  father's  influence  thus  bringing  him  into 
such  circles.  From  the  mother's  side,  through  an  older  cousin  who  was 
studying  theology,  a  son  of  the  Strassburg  historian  Baumgarten,  he  par- 
ticipated in  the  theological  and  philosophical  controversies  of  the  day. 

He  began  his  daily  routine  at  Heidelberg  by  rising  early  to  attend  a 
lecture  in  logic.  Then  he  'fiddled  around'  in  the  dueling  hall  for  an 
hour.  He  sat  through  his  lectures  'in  a  studious  way,'  went  to  lunch  at 
12:30,  'for  one  mark';  occasionally  he  had  a  quarter  of  a  litre  of  wine  or 


beer  with  his  meal.  Frequently,  for  two  hours  in  the  early  afternoon  he 
played  a  'solid  game  of  cards.'  Then  he  retreated  to  his  rooms,  went 
over  his  lecture  notes,  and  read  such  books  as  Strauss'  The  Old  and  the 
New  Belief.  'Sometimes  in  the  afternoon  I  go  with  friends  to  the  moun- 
tains and  walk,  and  in  the  evening  we  meet  again  at  the  restaurant  and 
have  a  quite  good  supper  for  80  pfennig.  I  read  Lotze's  Microcosm,  and 
we  get  into  heated  argument  about  it.'  ^  Occasionally,  invitations  to  the 
homes  of  professors  gave  him  an  opportunity  to  imitate  the  characteristic 
peculiarities  of  people  known  to  the  group. 

During  subsequent  semesters,  Weber  joined  heartily  in  the  social  life 
of  the  dueling  fraternity,  and  he  learned  to  hold  his  own  in  drinking 
bouts  as  well  as  duels.  Soon  his  face  carried  the  conventional  dueling 
scar.  He  fell  into  debt  and  remained  so  during  his  Heidelberg  years. 
The  student  and  patriotic  songs  he  learned  during  this  period  lingered 
in  his  memory  throughout  the  course  of  his  life.  The  stringy  youth  grew 
into  the  robust  man,  broad-shouldered  and  rather  stout.  When  he  visited 
his  mother  in  Berlin,  now  a  man  with  the  external  characteristics  of 
Imperial  Germany,  his  mother  was  shocked  at  his  appearance  and  re- 
ceived him  with  a  slap  in  the  face. 

Looking  back  upon  his  Heidelberg  years,  Weber  wrote:  'The  usual 
training  for  haughty  aggression  in  the  dueling  fraternity  and  as  an 
officer  has  undoubtedly  had  a  strong  influence  upon  me.  It  removed 
the  shyness  and  insecurity  of  my  adolescence.'^ 

After  three  semesters  at  Heidelberg,  at  the  age  of  19  Weber  moved 
to  Strassburg  in  order  to  serve  his  year  in  the  army.  Apart  from  dueling, 
he  had  never  done  any  physical  exercise,  and  the  military  service  with 
its  drill  was  difficult  for  him.  In  addition  to  the  physical  strain,  he  suf- 
fered greatly  under  the  stupidity  of  barrack  drill  and  the  chicanery  of 
subaltern  officers.  He  did  not  like  to  give  up  his  intellectual  pursuits: 

When  I  come  home  I  usually  go  to  bed  around  nine  o'clock.  However,  I 
cannot  fall  asleep,  as  my  eyes  are  not  tired  and  the  intellectual  side  of  man 
is  not  being  utilized.  The  feeling,  which  begins  in  the  morning  and  increases 
toward  the  end  of  the  day,  of  sinking  slowly  into  the  night  of  abysmal 
stupidity  is  actually  the  most  disagreeable  thing  of  all.^ 

Weber  adjusted  to  this  feeling  by  having  his  fill  of  alcohol  in  the 
evening  and  going  through  the  military  routine  the  next  day  in  the 
daze  of  a  moderate  hangover.  Then  he  felt  'that  the  hours  fly  away 
because  nothing,  not  a  single  thought,  stirs  under  my  skull.'  Although 


he  finally  built  up  his  endurance  and  met  most  of  the  physical  demands 
quite  well,  he  never  measured  up  to  the  gymnastic  acrobatics.  Once 
a  sergeant  shouted  at  him,  in  Berlin  dialect:  'Man,  you  look  like  a  barrel 
of  beer  swinging  on  a  trapeze.'  He  made  up  for  this  deficiency  by  per- 
fecting his  marching  endurance  and  his  goosestep.  At  no  time  did  he 
cease  to  rebel  against  the 

incredible  waste  of  time  required  to  domesticate  thinking  beings  into  ma- 
chines responding  to  commands  with  automatic  precision.  .  .  One  is  sup- 
posed to  learn  patience  by  observing  for  an  hour  each  day  all  sorts  of  sense- 
less things  which  are  called  military  education.  As  if,  my  God!  after  three 
months  of  the  manual  of  arms  for  hours  every  day  and  the  innumerable  in- 
sults of  the  most  miserable  scoundrels,  one  could  ever  be  suspected  of 
suffering  from  lack  of  patience.  The  officer  candidate  is  supposed  to  be  de- 
prived of  the  possibility  of  using  his  mind  during  the  period  of  military 

Yet  Weber  was  quite  objective;  he  admitted  that  the  body  works 
more  precisely  when  all  thinking  is  eliminated.  And  after  he  received 
his  officer's  commission,  he  quickly  learned  to  see  the  brighter  side  of 
army  life.  He  was  well  esteemed  by  his  superior  officers,  and  contributed 
tall  stories  and  a  keen  sense  of  humor  to  the  comradeship  of  the  officers' 
mess;  and,  as  one  capable  of  command,  he  won  the  respect  of  the  men 
under  him. 

The  military  year  was  over  in  1884  and  at  the  age  of  20  Weber  re- 
sumed his  university  studies  in  Berlin  and  Goettingen,  where,  two  years 
later,  he  took  his  first  examination  in  law.  But  during  the  summer  of 
1885  and  again  in  1887  he  returned  to  Strassburg  for  military  exercises. 
And  in  1888  he  participated  in  military  maneuvers  in  Posen.  There  he 
felt  at  close  range  the  atmosphere  of  the  German-Slavonic  border,  which 
seemed  to  him  a  'cultural'  frontier.  His  discussion  of  Channing,  in  a  letter 
addressed  to  his  mother,  is  characteristic  of  his  thinking  at  this  time. 

Channing  had  made  a  deep  impression  upon  him,  but  Weber  could 
not  go  along  with  his  ethical  absolutism  and  pacifism.  T  simply  cannot 
see  what  moral  elevation  will  result  from  placing  military  professionals 
on  a  footing  with  a  gang  of  murderers  and  holding  them  up  for  public 
disdain.  War  would  not  thereby  gain  in  humaneness.'  Characteristically, 
Weber  does  not  enter  into  a  theological  dispute  about  the  Sermon  on  the 
Mount;  he  keeps  at  a  distance  from  Channing  by  locating  his  perspective 
in  the  social  and  historical  situation;  he  tries  thereby  to  'understand'  and, 
at  the  same  time,  he  relativizes  Channing's  position.  'Channing  obviously 


has  no  idea  of  such  matters  [war  and  desertion].  He  has  in  mind  the 
conditions  of  American  enhsted  armies  with  which  the  predatory  wars 
of  the  democratic  American  federal  Government  against  Mexico  etc.  have 
been  fought.'  ^  The  arguments  indicate,  in  nuce,  the  position  that  Weber 
later  argues,  in  the  last  section  of  Politics  as  a  Vocation  and  in  the  discus- 
sion of  religion  and  politics  in  Religious  Rejections  of  the  World.^ 

It  is  characteristic  of  Weber's  way  of  life  that  in  Strassburg  his  main 
social  experience  remained  within  his  family  situation.  Two  of  his 
mother's  sisters  were  married  to  Strassburg  professors;  and  Weber 
found  friendship  and  intellectual  discourse  as  well  as  profound  emotional 
experience  in  their  houses.  Some  of  the  Baumgarten  family  were  ex- 
ceptionally prone  to  mystical  and  religious  experiences,  and  young  Weber 
participated  with  great  sympathy  in  the  tensions  that  these  experiences 
occasioned.  He  became  the  confidant  of  almost  everyone  concerned, 
learning  to  appreciate  and  sympathize  with  their  respective  values.  He 
spoke  of  himself  as  'Ich  Weltmensch'  and  tried  to  find  a  workable  solu- 
tion for  the  several  persons  involved.  And  for  Weber  this  meant 
going  beyond  ethical  absolutism:  'The  matter  does  not  appear  to  me 
to  be  so  desperate  if  one  does  not  ask  too  exclusively  (as  the  Baum- 
gartens,  now  as  often,  do) :  "Who  is  morally  right  and  who  is  morally 
wrong?"  But  if  one  rather  asks:  "Given  the  existing  conflict,  how  can 
I  solve  it  with  the  least  internal  and  external  damage  for  all  con- 
cerned?"'°  Weber  thus  suggested  a  pragmatic  view,  a  focus  on  the 
consequences  of  various  decisions  rather  than  on  the  stubborn  insistence 
upon  the  introspective  awareness  of  one's  intense  sincerity.  His  early  let- 
ters and  the  experiences  at  Strassburg  clearly  point  to  his  later  distinction 
between  an  ethic  of  responsibility  and  an  ethic  of  absolute  ends. 

Weber  concluded  his  studies  and  took  up  service  in  the  law  courts 
of  Berlin,  in  which  city  he  lived  with  his  parents.  In  the  early  'eighties, 
he  settled  down,  a  diligent  student  of  law,  in  the  lecture  rooms  of  the 
eminent  jurists  of  the  time.  Among  them,  he  admired  Gneist,  whose 
lectures  directed  his  attention  to  current  pohtical  problems.  'I  find  his 
lectures  true  masterpieces;  really,  I  have  wondered  about  his  manner 
of  directly  entering  questions  of  politics  and  about  the  way  he  de- 
velops strictly  liberal  views  without  becoming  a  propagandist,  which 
Treitschke  does  become  in  his  lectures  on  state  and  church.'  ^° 

Weber  concentrated  upon  a  field  in  which  economic  and  legal  history 
overlapped.  He  wrote  his  Ph.D.  thesis  on  the  history  of  trading  com- 


panics  during  the  Middle  Ages  (1889),  examining  hundreds  of  ItaHan 
and  Spanish  references  and  learning  both  languages  in  order  to  do  so. 
In  1890  he  passed  his  second  examination  in  law.  He  habilitated  himself 
in  Berhn  for  commercial,  German,  and  Roman  law  with  a  treatise  on 
what  Marx  once  called  'the  secret  history  of  the  Romans,'  namely,  The 
History  of  Agrarian  Institutions  (1891).  The  modest  title  actually  covers 
a  sociological,  economic,  and  cultural  analysis  of  ancient  society,  a  theme 
to  which  Weber  repeatedly  returned.  He  had  to  defend  one  of  the  finer 
points  of  his  thesis  against  Theodor  Mommsen.  At  the  end  of  the  in- 
conclusive exchange,  the  eminent  historian  asserted  that  he  knew  of  no 
better  man  to  succeed  him  'than  the  highly  esteemed  Max  Weber.' 

In  the  spring  of  1892,  a  grand  niece  of  Max  Weber,  Sr.,  came  to  Berlin 
in  order  to  educate  herself  for  a  profession.  Marianne  Schnitger,  the 
twenty-one-year-old  daughter  of  a  doctor,  had  attended  a  finishing  school 
in  the  city  of  Hanover.  Upon  returning  to  Berlin  after  an  earlier  visit  to 
the  Weber  home,  she  realized  that  she  was  in  love  with  Max  Weber. 
After  some  confusion,  Victorian  misunderstandings,  and  moral  attempts 
at  self-clarification,  Max  and  Marianne  announced  their  formal  engage- 
ment. They  were  married  in  the  fall  of  1893. 

For  some  six  years  before  his  marriage  to  Marianne,  Weber  had  been 
in  love  with  a  daughter  of  his  mother's  sister  in  Strassburg,  who,  for 
rather  long  periods,  was  in  a  mental  hospital.  She  was  recovering  when 
Weber  gently  broke  with  her.  He  never  forgot  that  he  had  unwillingly 
caused  suffering  to  this  tender  girl.  It  was  perhaps  an  important  reason 
for  the  mildness  of  his  reactions  to  others  who  were  guilty  in  the  field  of 
personal  relations  and  for  his  general  stoicism  in  personal  affairs.  In 
addition  to  this  situation,  another  moral  difficulty  had  stood  in  the  way 
of  the  marriage.  Perhaps  because  of  Weber's  hesitancy  in  approaching 
Marianne,  a  friend  of  his  had  courted  her,  and  it  was  somewhat  painful 
to  Weber  to  cut  in. 

After  his  marriage  to  Marianne,  Weber  lived  the  life  of  a  successful 
young  scholar  in  Berlin.  Having  taken  the  place  of  Jakob  Goldschmidt, 
a  famous  teacher  of  economics  who  had  become  ill,  he  was  in  lecture 
hall  and  seminar  nineteen  hours  a  week.  He  also  participated  in  state 
examinations  for  lawyers  and,  in  addition,  imposed  a  heavy  load  of  work 
upon  himself.  He  was  active  in  consultation  work  for  government  agen- 


cies,  and  made  special  studies  for  private  reform  groups,  one  on  the  stock 
exchange,  and  another  on  the  estates  in  Eastern  Germany. 

In  the  fall  of  1894,  he  accepted  a  full  professorship  in  economics  at 
Freiburg  University.  There  he  met  Hugo  Miinsterberg,  Pastor  Naumann, 
and  Wilhelm  Rickert.  He  had  an  enormous  load,  working  until  very  late. 
When  Marianne  urged  him  to  get  some  rest,  he  would  call  out :  'If  I  don't 
work  until  one  o'clock  I  can't  be  a  professor.' 

In  1895,  the  Webers  made  a  trip  to  Scotland  and  the  west  coast  of 
Ireland.  Returning  to  Freiburg,  Weber  gave  his  inaugural  address  at 
the  University.  It  was  entitled,  'The  National  State  and  Economic  Policy,' 
and  was  a  confession  of  belief  in  imperialist  Realpolitil^  and  the  House 
of  Hohenzollern.  It  caused  quite  a  stir.  'The  brutality  of  my  views,'  he 
wrote,  'have  caused  horror.  The  Catholics  were  the  most  content  with  it, 
because  I  gave  a  firm  kick  to  "Ethical  Culture." ' 

Weber  accepted  a  chair  at  Heidelberg  in  1896,  replacing  the  eminent 
and  retired  Knies,  one  of  the  heads  of  'the  historical  school.'  He  thus 
became  the  colleague  of  former  teachers,  Fischer,  Bekker,  and  others, 
who  still  stamped  the  intellectual  and  social  life  of  Heidelberg.  His  circle 
of  friends  included  Georg  Jellinek,  Paul  Hensel,  Karl  Neumann,  the 
art  historian,  and  Ernst  Troeltsch,  the  religionist,  who  was  to  become 
one  of  Weber's  greatest  friends  and  intellectual  companions,  and  who 
for  a  time  lived  in  the  Weber  household. 

Max  Weber's  father  died  in  1897,  shortly  after  a  tense  discussion  in 
which  Max  heatedly  defended  his  mother  against  what  seemed  to  him 
autocratic  impositions.  Later  Weber  felt  that  his  hostile  outbreak  against 
his  father  was  a  guilty  act  which  could  never  be  rectified.^^  During  the 
following  summer,  the  Webers  traveled  to  Spain  and  on  the  return  trip 
Weber  became  fevered  and  ill  with  a  psychic  malady.  He  seemed  to  get 
better  when  the  academic  year  began,  but  towards  the  end  of  the  fall 
semester  he  collapsed  from  tension  and  remorse,  exhaustion  and  anxiety. 
For  his  essentially  psychiatric  condition,  doctors  prescribed  cold  water, 
travel,  and  exercise.  Yet  Weber  continued  to  experience  the  sleeplessness 
of  an  inner  tension. 

For  the  rest  of  his  life  he  suffered  intermittently  from  severe  depres- 
sions, punctuated  by  manic  spurts  of  extraordinarily  intense  intellectual 
work  and  travel.  Indeed,  his  way  of  life  from  this  time  on  seems  to 


oscillate  between  neurotic  collapse,  travel,  and  work.  He  was  held  to- 
gether by  a  profound  sense  of  humor  and  an  unusually  fearless  practice 
of  the  Socratic  maxim. 

Eager  to  make  the  best  of  a  bad  situation  and  to  comfort  his  wife, 
Weber  wrote: 

Such  a  disease  has  its  compensations.  It  has  reopened  to  me  the  human 
side  of  life,  which  mama  used  to  miss  in  me.  And  this  to  an  extent  previously 
unknown  to  me.  I  could  say,  with  John  Gabriel  Borkman,  that  'an  icy  hand 
has  let  me  loose.'  In  years  past  my  diseased  disposition  expressed  itself  in  a 
frantic  grip  upon  scientific  work,  which  appeared  to  me  as  a  talisman.  .  . 
Looking  back,  this  is  quite  clear.  I  know  that  sick  or  healthy,  I  shall  no 
longer  be  the  same.  The  need  to  feel  crushed  under  the  load  of  work  is 
extinct.  Now  I  want  most  of  all  to  live  out  my  life  humanly  and  to  see  my 
love  as  happy  as  it  is  possible  for  me  to  make  her.  I  do  not  believe  that  I 
shall  achieve  less  than  formerly  in  my  inner  treadmill,  of  course,  always  in 
proportion  to  my  condition,  the  permanent  improvement  of  which  will  in 
any  case  require  much  time  and  rest.^^ 

He  repeatedly  attempted  to  continue  his  teaching.  During  one  such 
attempt  his  arms  and  back  became  temporarily  paralyzed,  yet  he  forced 
himself  to  finish  the  semester.  He  felt  dreadfully  tired  out;  his  head 
was  weary;  every  mental  effort,  especially  speech,  was  felt  to  be  detri- 
mental to  his  entire  being.  In  spite  of  occasional  wrath  and  impatience, 
he  thought  of  his  condition  as  part  of  his  fate.  He  rejected  all  'good 
counsel.'  Since  adolescence,  everything  about  him  had  been  geared  for 
thinking.  And  now,  every  intellectual  pursuit  became  a  poison  to  him. 
He  had  not  developed  any  artistic  abilities,  and  physical  work  of  any 
sort  was  distasteful.  His  wife  attempted  to  persuade  him  to  take  up 
some  craft  or  hobby,  but  he  laughed  at  her.  For  hours  he  sat  and  gazed 
stupidly,  picking  at  his  finger  nails,  claiming  that  such  inactivity  made 
him  feel  good.  When  he  tried  to  look  at  his  lecture  notes,  the  words 
swam  in  confusion  before  his  eyes.  One  day,  while  walking  in  a  v/ood, 
he  lost  his  sensory  control  and  openly  wept.  A  pet  cat  made  him  so  angry 
with  its  mewing  that  he  was  quite  beyond  himself  in  rage.  These  symp- 
toms were  present  during  the  years  1898  and  1899.  The  university 
authorities  granted  him  a  leave  with  pay.  Years  later,  in  a  letter  to  his 
friend,  Karl  Vossler,  Weber  wrote :  '  "Misery  teaches  prayer."  .  .  .  Al- 
ways? According  to  my  personal  experience,  I  should  like  to  dispute 
this  statement.  Of  course,  I  agree  with  you  that  it  holds  very  frequently, 
all  too  frequently  for  man's  dignity.'  ^* 


One  fall  the  Webers  traveled  to  Venice  for  'a  vacation,'  They  returned 
to  Heidelberg  and  again  Weber  tried  to  resume  some  of  his  duties,  but 
soon  collapsed,  more  severely  than  ever  before.  At  Christmas  he  asked 
to  be  dismissed  from  his  position,  but  the  University  granted  him  a  long 
leave  of  absence  with  a  continuance  of  salary.  'He  could  not  read  or 
write,  speak,  walk,  or  sleep  without  pain;  all  mental  and  part  of  his 
physical  functions  refused  to  work.'  ^^ 

Early  in  1899,  ^^  entered  a  small  mental  institution  and  remained 
there  alone  for  several  weeks.  A  young  psychopathic  cousin  of  Weber's 
was  brought  to  the  institution,  and  during  the  winter,  on  medical  ad- 
vice, Weber's  wife  traveled  with  both  men  to  Ajaccio  on  the  island  of 
Corsica.  In  the  spring,  they  went  to  Rome,  the  ruins  of  which  re-stimu- 
lated Weber's  historical  interest.  He  felt  depressed  by  the  presence  of  the 
psychopathic  youth,  who  was  then  sent  home.  Several  years  later,  this 
youth  took  his  own  life.  Weber's  letter  of  condolence  to  the  parents 
gives  us  some  insight  into  his  freedom  from  conventional  attitudes  to- 
wards suicide. 

He  was  a  man  [he  wrote  of  the  cousin]  who,  chained  to  an  incurably  dis- 
eased body,  yet  had  developed,  perhaps  because  of  it,  a  sensitivity  of  feeling,  a 
clarity  about  himself,  and  a  deeply  hidden  and  proud  and  noble  height  of 
inner  deportment  such  as  is  found  among  few  healthy  people.  To  know  and  to 
judge  this  is  given  only  to  those  who  have  seen  him  quite  near  and  who  have 
learned  to  love  him  as  we  have,  and  who,  at  the  same  time,  personally  know 
what  disease  is.  .  .  His  future  being  what  it  was,  he  has  done  right  to  depart 
now  to  the  unknown  land  and  to  go  before  you,  who  otherwise  would  have 
had  to  leave  him  behind  on  this  earth,  walking  toward  a  dark  fate,  without 
counsel,  and  in  loneliness.^^ 

With  such  an  evaluation  of  suicide  as  a  last  and  stubborn  affirmation  of 
man's  freedom,  Weber  takes  his  stand  at  the  side  of  such  modern 
Stoics  as  Montaigne,  Hume,  and  Nietzsche.  He  was,  at  the  same  time, 
of  the  opinion  that  religions  of  salvation  do  not  approve  of  'voluntary 
death,'  that  only  philosophers  have  hallowed  it.^^ 

Under  the  influence  of  the  magnificent  landscape  of  Italy  and  its  his- 
torically grandiose  scenes,  Weber  slowly  recovered.  The  Webers  also 
spent  some  time  in  Switzerland,  where  his  mother,  now  57,  and  his 
brother  Alfred  visited  them.  Shortly  after  his  mother's  visit.  Max  was 
able  to  resume  reading,  a  book  on  art  history.  He  commented:  'Who 
knows  how  long  I  can  keep  it  up.?  Anything  but  literature  in  my  own 
field.'  After  three  and  a  half  years  of  intermittently  severe  disease,  in 


1902  Weber  felt  able  to  return  to  Heidelberg  and  resume  a  light  sched- 
ule of  work.  Gradually,  he  began  to  read  professional  journals  and  such 
books  as  Simmel's  Philosophy  of  Money.  Then,  as  if  to  make  up  for 
his  years  of  intellectual  privation,  he  plunged  into  a  vast  and  universal 
literature  in  which  art  history,  economics,  and  politics  stood  alongside 
the  economic  history  of  monastic  orders. 

There  were,  however,  repeated  setbacks.  He  was  still  unable  fully  to 
take  up  his  teaching  work.  He  asked  to  be  dismissed  from  his  profes- 
sorship and  to  be  made  a  titular  professor.  This  request  was  first  re- 
jected, but  at  his  insistence,  he  was  made  a  lecturer.  He  had  requested 
the  right  to  examine  Ph.D.  candidates,  but  this  was  not  granted.  After 
four  and  a  half  years  without  production  he  was  able  to  write  a  book 
review.  A  new  phase  of  writing  finally  began,  at  first  dealing  with 
problems  of  method  in  the  social  sciences. 

Weber  suffered  under  the  psychic  burden  of  receiving  money  from 
the  university  without  rendering  adequate  service.  He  felt  that  only  a 
man  at  his  work  is  a  full  man,  and  he  forced  himself  to  work.  Yet  after 
only  a  summer  of  it,  he  returned  to  Italy  alone.  During  the  year  1903, 
he  traveled  out  of  Germany  no  less  than  six  times;  he  was  in  Italy, 
Holland,  and  Belgium.  His  own  nervous  condition,  his  disappointment 
at  his  own  insufficiencies,  frictions  with  the  Heidelberg  faculty,  and  the 
political  state  of  the  nation  occasionally  made  him  wish  to  turn  his  back 
on  Germany  forever.  Yet  during  this  year,  1903,  he  managed  to  join 
with  Sombart  in  the  editorship  of  the  Archiv  fi'ir  Sozialivissenschajt  und 
Sozialpoliti^,  which  became  perhaps  the  leading  social  science  journal  in 
Germany,  until  suppressed  by  the  Nazis.  This  editorship  provided  Weber 
an  opportunity  to  resume  contact  with  a  wide  circle  of  scholars  and 
politicians  and  to  broaden  the  focus  of  his  own  work.  By  1904,  his  pro- 
ductivity was  in  full  swing  again  and  rising  steeply.  He  published 
essays  on  the  social  and  economic  problems  of  Junker  estates,  objectivity 
in  the  social  sciences,  and  the  first  section  of  the  Protestant  Ethic  and  the 
Spirit  of  Capitalism. 

Hugo  Miinsterberg,  his  colleague  from  Freiburg  days,  had  helped 
organize  a  'Congress  of  Arts  and  Science'  as  part  of  the  Universal  Ex- 
position of  1904  in  St.  Louis.  He  invited  Weber  (along  with  Sombart, 
Troeltsch,  and  many  others)  to  read  a  paper  before  the  Congress.^^  By 
August,  Weber  and  his  wife  were  on  the  way  to  America. 


Max  Weber's  reaction  to  the  United  States  was  at  once  enthusiastic 
and  detached.  He  possessed  to  an  eminent  degree  the  'virtue'  which 
Edward  Gibbon  ascribes  to  the  studious  traveler  abroad,  that  Virtue 
which  borders  on  a  vice;  the  flexible  temper  which  can  assimilate  itself 
to  every  tone  of  society  from  the  court  to  the  cottage;  the  happy  flow  of 
spirits  which  can  amuse  and  be  amused  in  every  company  and  situa- 
tion.' ^^  Hence  Weber  was  impatient  and  angry  with  quickly  prejudiced 
colleagues,  who,  after  a  day  and  a  half  in  New  York,  began  to  run  down 
things  in  America. 

He  wished  to  enter  sympathetically  into  the  new  world  without  sur- 
rendering his  capacity  for  informed  judgments  at  a  later  time.  He  was 
fascinated  by  the  rush  hour  in  lower  Manhattan,  which  he  liked  to 
view  from  the  middle  of  Brooklyn  Bridge  as  a  panorama  of  mass  trans- 
portation and  noisy  motion.  The  skyscrapers,  which  he  saw  as  'fortresses 
of  capital,'  reminded  him  of  'the  old  pictures  of  the  towers  in  Bologna 
and  Florence.'  And  he  contrasted  these  towering  bulks  of  capitalism  with 
the  tiny  homes  of  American  college  professors: 

Among  these  masses,  all  individualism  becomes  expensive,  whether  it  is  in 
housing  or  eating.  Thus,  the  home  of  Professor  Hervay,  of  the  German  de- 
partment in  Columbia  University,  is  surely  a  doll's  house  with  tiny  little 
rooms,  with  toilet  and  bath  facilities  in  the  same  room  (as  is  almost  always 
the  case).  Parties  with  more  than  four  guests  are  impossible  (worthy  of  be- 
ing envied!)  and  with  all  this,  it  takes  one  hour's  ride  to  get  to  the  center  of 
the  city.  .  .^^ 

From  New  York  the  party  journeyed  to  Niagara  Falls.  They  visited 
a  small  town  and  then  went  on  to  Chicago,  which  Weber  found  'incred- 
ible.' He  noted  well  its  lawlessness  and  violence,  its  sharp  contrasts  of  gold 
coast  and  slum,  the  'steam,  dirt,  blood,  and  hides'  of  the  stockyards,  the 
'maddening'  mixture  of  peoples: 

the  Greek  shining  the  Yankee's  shoes  lor  five  cents,  the  German  acting  as  his 
waiter,  the  Irishman  managing  his  politics,  and  the  Italian  digging  his  dirty 
ditches.  With  the  exception  of  some  exclusive  residential  districts,  the  whole 
gigantic  city,  more  extensive  than  London,  is  like  a  man  whose  skin  has 
been  peeled  off  and  whose  entrails  one  sees  at  work. 

Again  and  again,  Weber  was  impressed  by  the  extent  of  waste,  espe- 
cially the  waste  of  human  life,  under  American  capitalism.  He  noticed 


the  same  conditions  tliat  the  muckrakers  were  pubUcizing  at  the  time. 
Thus  he  commented,  in  a  letter  to  his  mother: 

After  their  work,  the  workers  often  have  to  travel  for  hours  in  order  to 
reach  their  homes.  The  tramway  company  has  been  bankrupt  for  years.  As 
usual  a  receiver,  who  has  no  interest  in  speeding  up  the  liquidation,  manages 
its  affairs;  therefore,  new  tram  cars  are  not  purchased.  The  old  cars  con- 
standy  break  down,  and  about  four  hundred  people  a  year  are  thus  killed 
or  crippled.  According  to  the  law,  each  death  costs  the  company  about 
$5,000,  which  is  paid  to  the  widow  or  heirs,  and  each  cripple  costs  $10,000, 
paid  to  the  casualty  himself.  These  compensations  are  due  so  long  as  the 
company  does  not  introduce  certain  precautionary  measures.  But  they  have 
calculated  that  the  four  hundred  casualties  a  year  cost  less  than  would  the 
necessary  precautions.  The  company  therefore  does  not  introduce  them.^° 

In  St.  Louis,  Weber  delivered  a  successful  lecture  on  the  social  struc- 
ture of  Germany,  with  particular  reference  to  rural  and  political  prob- 
lems. This  was  his  first  'lecture'  in  six  and  a  half  years.  Many  of  his 
colleagues  were  present,  and  according  to  the  report  of  his  wife,  who 
was  also  present,  his  talk  was  very  well  received.  This  was  gratifying  to 
the  Webers,  as  it  seemed  to  indicate  that  he  was  again  able  to  function 
in  his  profession.  He  traveled  through  the  Oklahoma  territory,  and  vis- 
ited New  Orleans  as  well  as  the  Tuskegee  Institution;  he  visited  distant 
relatives  in  North  Carolina  and  Virginia;  and  then,  in  fast  tempo,  trav- 
eled through  Philadelphia,  Washington,  Baltimore,  and  Boston.  In  New 
York,  he  searched  the  hbrary  of  Columbia  University  for  materials  to 
be  used  in  The  Protestant  Ethic. 

Of  the  Americans  [whom  we  met]  it  was  a  woman,  an  inspector  of  in- 
dustry, who  was  by  far  the  most  pre-eminent  figure.  One  learned  a  great  deal 
about  the  radical  evil  of  this  world  from  this  passionate  socialist.  The  hope- 
lessness of  social  legislation  in  a  system  of  state  particularism,  the  corruption 
of  many  labor  leaders  who  incite  strikes  and  then  have  the  manufacturer 
pay  them  for  settling  them.  (I  had  a  personal  letter  of  introduction  to  such  a 
scoundrel.)  .  .  .  and  yet,  [the  Americans]  are  a  wonderful  people.  Only  the 
Negro  question  and  the  terrible  immigration  form  a  big,  black  cloud.^^ 

During  his  travels  in  America  Weber  seems  to  have  been  most  in- 
terested in  labor  problems,  the  immigrant  question,  problems  of  politi- 
cal management — especially  of  municipal  government — all  expressions 
of  the  'capitahst  spirit,'  ^"  the  Indian  question  and  its  administration,  the 
plight  of  the  South,  and  the  Negro  problem.  Of  the  American  Negro, 
Weber  wrote:  'I  have  talked  to  about  one  hundred  white  Southerners 


of  all  social  classes  and  parties,  and  the  problem  of  what  shall  become 
of  these  people  [the  Negroes]  seems  absolutely  hopeless.' 

He  had  arrived  in  America  in  September  1904;  he  left  for  Germany 
shortly  before  Christmas.* 

Perhaps  the  United  States  was  for  Weber  what  England  had  been  for 
previous  generations  of  German  liberals:  the  model  of  a  new  society. 
Here  the  Protestant  sects  had  had  their  greatest  scope  and  in  their  wake 
the  secular,  civic,  and  'voluntary  associations'  had  flowered.  Here  a  po- 
litical federation  of  states  had  led  to  a  'voluntary'  union  of  immense 

Weber  was  far  from  the  conceit  of  those  German  civil  servants  who 
prided  themselves  in  their  'honest  administration'  and  pointed  disdain- 
fully to  the  'corrupt  practices'  of  American  politics.  Friedrich  Kapp,  a 
returned  German-American,  had  brought  such  attitudes  home  to  Weber. 
But  Weber  saw  things  in  a  broader  perspective.  Being  convinced  that 
politics  are  not  to  be  judged  solely  as  a  moral  business,  his  attitude  was 
rather  that  of  Charles  Sealsfield,  who  had,  during  the  eighteen-thirties, 
unfolded  an  epic  panorama  of  the  birth  of  an  empire-building  nation 
destined  to  'take  its  place  among  the  mightiest  nations  upon  the  earth.' 
Sealsfield  had  asked,  'Is  it  not  rather  a  necessary,  absolute  condition  of 
our  liberty  that  citizens'  virtues,  as  well  as  their  vices,  should  grow  more 
luxuriantly  because  they  are  freely  permitted  to  grow  and  increase.?' 
Weber  might  have  agreed,  after  what  he  saw,  that  'the  mouth  which 
breathes  the  mephitic  vapors  of  the  Mississippi  and  the  Red  River 
swamps  is  not  fit  to  chew  raisins,  that  the  hand  which  fells  our  gigantic 
trees  and  drains  our  bogs  cannot  put  on  kid  gloves.  Our  land  is  the 
land  of  contrast.'  ^^ 

The  key  focus  of  Weber's  experience  of  America  was  upon  the  role 
of  bureaucracy  in  a  democracy.  He  saw  that  'machine  politics'  were  in- 
dispensable in  modern  'mass  democracy,'  unless  a  'leaderless  democracy' 
and  a  confusion  of  tongues  were  to  prevail.  Machine  politics,  however,  i 
mean  the  management  of  politics  by  professionals,  by  the  disciplined 
party  organization  and  its  streamlined  propaganda.  Such  democracy  may 
also  bring  to  the  helm  the  Caesarist  people's  tribune,  whether  in  the  role 
of  the  strong  president  or  the  city  manager.  And  the  whole  process 

*Some  translations  of  Weber's  letters  from  the  United  States  are  contained  in  H.  W. 
Brann,  'Max  Weber  and  the  United  States,'  Southwestern  Social  Science  Quarterly,  June 
1944,  pp.   18-30. 


tends  towards  increasing  rational  efficiency  and  therewith  bureaucratic 
machines:  party,  municipal,  federal. 

Weber  saw  this  machine-building,  however,  in  a  dialectic  fashion: 
Democracy  must  oppose  bureaucracy  as  a  tendency  towards  a  caste  of 
mandarins,  removed  from  the  common  people  by  expert  training,  exam- 
ination certificates,  and  tenure  of  office,  but:  the  scope  of  administrative 
functions,  the  end  of  the  open  frontier,  and  the  narrowing  of  oppor- 
tunities make  the  spoils  system,  with  its  public  waste,  irregularities,  and 
lack  of  technical  efficiency,  increasingly  impossible  and  undemocratic. 
Thus  democracy  has  to  promote  what  reason  demands  and  democratic 
sentiment  hates.  In  his  writings,  Weber  repeatedly  refers  to  those  Ameri- 
can workers  who  opposed  civil-service  reform  by  arguing  that  they  pre- 
ferred a  set  of  corrupt  politicians  whom  they  could  oust  and  despise,  to 
a  caste  of  expert  officials  who  would  despise  them  and  who  were  irre- 
movable. Weber  was  instrumental  in  having  the  German  President's 
power  strengthened  as  a  balance  of  the  Reichstag;  this  act  should  be 
understood  along  with  his  American  experiences.  He  was,  above  all,  im- 
pressed by  the  grandiose  efficiency  of  a  type  of  man,  bred  by  free  asso- 
ciations in  which  the  individual  had  to  prove  himself  before  his  equals, 
where  no  authoritative  commands,  but  autonomous  decision,  good  sense, 
and  responsible  conduct  train  for  citizenship. 

In  191 8  Weber  suggested  in  a  letter  to  a  colleague  that  Germany  should 
borrow  the  American  'club  pattern'  as  a  means  of  're-educating'  Ger- 
many; for,  he  wrote,  'authoritarianism  now  fails  completely,  except  in 
the  form  of  the  church.'  ^^  Weber  thus  saw  the  connection  between 
voluntary  associations  and  the  personality  structure  of  the  free  man.  His 
study  of  the  Protestant  sect  testifies  to  that.  He  was  convinced  that  the 
automatic  selection  of  persons,  with  the  pressure  always  upon  the  in- 
dividual to  prove  himself,  is  an  infinitely  deeper  way  for  'toughening' 
man  than  the  ordering  and  forbidding  technique  of  authoritarian  insti- 
tutions. For  such  authoritarianism  does  not  reach  into  the  innermost  of 
those  subject  to  its  external  constraint,  and  it  leaves  them  incapable  of 
self-direction  once  the  authoritarian  shell  is  broken  by  counter-violence. 

Upon  his  return  to  Germany,  Max  Weber  resumed  his  writing  at 
Heidelberg.  He  finished  the  second  part  of  The  Protestant  Ethic,  which 
in  a  letter  to  Rickert  he  called  'Protestant  asceticism  as  the  foundation 


of  modern  vocational  civilization — a  sort  of  "spiritualist"  construction  of 
the  modern  economy.'  ~^' 

The  first  Russian  revolution  redirected  his  scholarly  work;  he  learned 
Russian,  in  bed  before  getting  up  each  morning,  in  order  to  follow 
events  in  the  Russian  daily  press.  Then  he  chased  'after  the  events  with 
his  pen  in  order  to  pin  them  down  as  daily  history.'  In  1901  he  pub- 
lished two  major  essays  on  Russia,  'The  Situation  of  Bourgeois  Democ- 
racy in  Russia'  and  'Russia's  Transition  to  Sham  Constitutionalism.' 

Eminent  social  scientists,  such  as  SchmoUer  and  Brentano,  encouraged 
him  to  resume  a  professorship,  but  Weber  felt  he  was  not  capable  of 
doing  so.  For  a  while  longer,  he  wanted  merely  to  write.  Yet,  being 
universally  esteemed,  he  could  not  help  being  drawn  into  academic  poli- 
tics, judging  prospective  candidates  for  positions,  or  trying  to  open  up 
room  for  various  younger  scholars,  such  as  Georg  Simmel  and  Robert 
Michels,  to  whom  satisfactory  careers  were  blocked  or  precluded  because 
of  anti-Semitism  or  prejudice  against  young  socialist  docents.  The  case 
of  Robert  Michels,  the  son  of  an  eminent  Cologne  family  of  patrician 
merchants,  especially  enraged  Weber.  At  the  time,  German  universities 
were  closed  to  him  because  he  was  a  social  democrat.  Weber  asserted 
that,  'If  I  compare  Italian,  French,  and,  at  the  moment,  even  Russian 
conditions  with  this  condition  of  ours,  I  have  to  consider  it  a  shame  of 
a  civilized  nation.'  Some  professor  maintained  that  in  addition  to  political 
reasons  for  Michels'  exclusion  there  was  the  further  reason  that  Michels 
had  not  baptized  his  children.  Upon  this  Weber  wrote  an  article  in  the 
Frankjurter  Zeitung  on  'The  So-called  Academic  Freedom,'  in  which 
he  said: 

As  long  as  such  views  prevail,  I  see  no  possibility  of  behaving  as  if  we  had 
such  a  thing  as  academic  freedom.  .  .  And  as  long  as  religious  communities 
knowingly  and  openly  allovi^  their  sacraments  to  be  used  as  means  for  making 
a  career,  on  the  same  level  of  a  dueling  corps  or  an  officer's  commission,  they 
deserve  the  disdain  about  which  they  are  so  used  to  complaining.^^ 

In  1908  he  investigated  the  industrial  psychology  of  his  grandfather's 
linen  factory  in  WestphaUa.  He  had  hoped  to  promote  a  series  of  such 
studies,  and  the  methodological  note  he  wrote  is  a  causal  analysis  of 
physical  and  psychic  factors  influencing  the  productivity  of  industrial 
labor.  In  this  same  year,  he  worked  out  a  long  essay  on  the  social  struc- 
ture of  ancient  society,  published  in  an  encyclopedia  *  under  the  modest 

*  Handwdrterbitch  der  Staatswissenschaften,  3rd  ed.,  vol.  i. 


and  somewhat  misleading  title,  'The  Agrarian  Institutions  of  Antiquity.' 
A  disciple  of  Freud  made  his  appearance  in  the  intellectual  circles  in 
Heidelberg  in  1909.  Conventional  Victorian  conceptions  of  marital  fidel- 
ity and  of  morally  justified  jealousy  were  depreciated  in  the  name  of  a 
new  norm  of  mentally  healthy  living.  Full  of  sympathy  for  the  tragic 
entanglements  and  moral  difficulties  of  friends,  which  resulted  from  this 
conduct,  Weber  reacted  sharply  against  what  appeared  to  him  a  con- 
fusion of  valuable,  though  still  imprecise,  psychiatric  insights  with  an 
ethic  of  vulgar  pride  in  'healthy  nerves.'  He  was  not  willing  to  accept 
healthy  nerves  as  an  absolute  end,  or  to  calculate  the  moral  worth  of 
repression  in  terms  of  its  cost  to  one's  nerves.  Weber  thought  that  the 
therapeutic  technique  of  Freud  was  a  resuscitation  of  the  oral  confes- 
sion, with  the  clinician  displacing  the  old  directeur  d'dme.  He  felt  that 
an  ethic  was  disguised  in  the  scientific  discussion  of  the  clinician,  and 
that  in  this  matter  a  specialized  scientist,  who  should  be  concerning  him- 
self only  with  means,  was  usurping  from  laymen  their  right  to  make 
their  own  evaluations.  Weber  thus  saw  a  'loose'  way  of  life  draped  in 
what  he  felt  was  a  shifting  clinical  theory.  One  can  easily  see  that  he 
resisted  a  theory  that  is,  in  principle,  directed  against  asceticism  and 
that  conceives  of  ends  only  in  pragmatic  terms,  thus  deflating  the  im- 
perative claim  of  heroic  ethics.  Being  personally  characterized  by  an 
extremely  stern  conscience,  Weber  was  often  ready  to  forgive  others 
but  was  quite  rigid  with  himself.  He  believed  that  many  of  those  who 
followed  in  the  wake  of  Freud  were  too  ready  to  justify  what  appeared 
to  him  as  moral  shabbiness. 

It  should,  however,  be  noted  that  although  Weber  was  not  willing  to 
see  Freud's  disciples  use  their  theories  in  this  personal  way,  he  had 

no  doubt  that  Freud's  ideas  can  become  a  source  of  highly  significant  inter- 
pretations of  a  whole  series  of  cultural  and  historical,  moral  and  religious 
phenomena.  Of  course,  from  the  point  of  view  of  a  cultural  historian,  their 
significance  is  not  nearly  so  universal  as  the  understandable  enthusiasms  of 
Freud  and  his  disciples,  in  the  joy  of  their  discovery,  would  have  us  believe. 
A  precondition  would  be  the  establishment  of  an  exact  typology  of  a  scope 
and  certainty  which  does  not  exist  today,  despite  all  assertions  to  the  con- 
trary, but  which  perhaps  will  exist  in  two  to  three  decades.^'^ 

In  Heidelberg,  during  these  years  from  1906  to  1910,  Weber  partici- 
pated in  intense  intellectual  discussions  with  such  eminent  colleagues  as 


his  brother,  Alfred  Weber,  with  Otto  Klebs,  Eberhard  Gothein,  Wilhelm 
Windelband,  Georg  JelUnek,  Ernst  Troeltsch,  Karl  Neumann,  Emil 
Lask,  Friedrich  Gundolf,  and  Arthur  Salz.  During  vacation  times  or 
other  'free  periods,'  many  friends  from  outside  Heidelberg  visited  the 
Webers.  Among  them  were  Robert  Michels,  Werner  Sombart,  the  phi- 
losopher Paul  Hensel,  Hugo  Miinsterberg,  Ferdinand  Tonnies,  Karl 
Vossler,  and,  above  all,  Georg  Simmel.  Among  the  younger  scholars  who 
sought  Weber's  stimulus  were:  Paul  Honigsheim,  Karl  Lowenstein,  and 
Georg  Lukacs.  These  circles  were  not  closed  to  the  non-academic;  they 
included  a  few  eminent  artists,  such  as  Mina  Tobler,  the  musician  to 
whom  Weber  dedicated  his  study  of  Hinduism  and  Buddhism,  as  well 
as  the  former  actress,  Klare  Schmid-Romberg,  and  her  husband,  a  poet, 
philosopher,  and  connoisseur  of  art.  Karl  Jaspers,  a  psychiatrist  who  was 
to  turn  philosopher  and  use  Kierkegaard's  work  in  his  philosophy  of 
existentialism,  and  H.  Gruhle,  a  psychiatrist  interested  in  the  latest  of 
modern  art,  also  belonged  to  the  circle.  Three  generations  of  intellectual 
and  artistic  elite  were  in  active  discourse  at  these  Heidelberg  meeting-s. 

In  1908  Max  Weber  was  active  in  establishing  a  sociological  society. 
In  a  selfless  manner,  he  carried  the  routine  burdens  of  overcoming  the 
usual  difficulties  of  such  organizations.  He  was  decisive  in  setting  the 
level  of  discussion  at  the  meetings  and  in  defining  the  scope  of  future 
work.  He  stimulated  collective  research  enterprises,  such  as  an  investi- 
gation of  voluntary  associations,  ranging  from  athletic  leagues  to  re- 
ligious sects  and  political  parties.  He  proposed  a  methodical  study  of 
the  press  by  questionnaires,  and  directed  and  prompted  studies  in  in- 
dustrial psychology.  In  addition,  he  assumed  responsibility  to  the  pub- 
lisher Siebeck  of  organizing  an  encyclopedic  series  of  social-science 
studies.  This  latter  project  was  intended  as  a  two-year  job,  but  it  con- 
tinued even  after  his  death,  his  own  Wirtschajt  und  Gesellschajt  appear- 
ing posthumously  as  a  volume  in  the  series. 

The  severity  of  Weber's  sense  of  honor,  his  prompt  chivalry,  and  his 
position  as  a  reserve  officer  occasionally  impelled  him  to  engage  in  court 
actions  and  'affairs  of  honor.'  It  was  characteristic  of  him  to  act  with 
great  impetuosity  and  righteous  indignation.  Yet  when  his  opponent  had 
been  morally  crushed  by  the  machinery  he  had  set  in  motion,  his  furor 
cooled,  and  he  was  overcome  by  mercifulness  and  sympathy,  the  more 
so  when  he  realized  that  others  besides  the  guilty  one  suffered  from  his 
actions.  Close  friends  who  did  not  feel  so  strongly  as  Weber  in  such 
matters  were  inclined  to  consider  him  a  querulous  man  who  lacked  a 


sense  of  measure,  a  Don  Quixote  whose  actions  might  well  boomerang. 
Others  hailed  him  as  Germany's  foremost  educator,  whose  moral  au- 
thority raised  him  above  the  shoulders  of  the  spineless  Philistines,  out 
only  for  their  own  careers.  His  Don  Quixote  aspect  comes  out  clearly  in 
a  statement  he  made  to  his  friend,  Theodor  Heuss,  in  1917:  'As  soon  as 
the  war  has  come  to  an  end,  I  shall  insult  the  Kaiser  until  he  suesjne, 
and  then  the  responsible  statesmen,  Biilow,  Tirpitz,  and  Bethmann- 
Hollweg,  will  be  compelled  to  make  statements  under  oath.'  ^^ 

When  the  First  World  War  began,  Weber  was  50.  'In  spite  of  all,'  it 
was  'a  great  and  wonderful  war,'  "^  and  he  wanted  to  march  at  the  head 
of  his  company.  That  his  age  and  medical  condition  made  this  impos- 
sible was  painful  to  him.  But  as  a  member  of  the  reserve  corps,  he  was 
commissioned  as  a  disciplinary  and  economic  officer,  a  captain,  in  charge 
of  establishing  and  running  nine  hospitals  in  the  Heidelberg  area.  In 
this  position  he  experienced  from  the  inside  what  had  become  a  central 
concept  in  his  sociology:  bureaucracy.  The  social  apparatus  of  which 
he  had  charge  was,  however,  one  of  dilettantes,  rather  than  of  experts; 
and  Weber  worked  for  and  witnessed  its  transformation  into  an  or- 
dered bureaucracy.  From  August  1914  to  the  fall  of  1915,  he  served  this 
commission,  which  was  then  dissolved  in  a  reorganization,  and  Weber 
honorably  retired.  His  political  frustrations  during  the  war  will  be  dis- 
cussed presently. 

He  went  to  Brussels  for  a  short  time  in  order  to  confer  with  Jaffe 
about  the  administration  of  the  occupation  of  Belgium.  Then  he  went 
to  Berlin,  as  a  self-appointed  prophet  of  doom,  to  write  memoranda, 
seek  contact  with  political  authorities,  and  fight  the  mad  imperialist 
aspiration.  In  the  final  analysis,  he  debunked  the  conduct  of  the  war- 
party  as  being  the  gamble  of  munition  makers  and  agrarian  capitalists. 
From  Berlin  he  went  to  Vienna  and  Budapest,  in  the  service  of  the 
government,  to  conduct  unofficial  conversations  with  industrialists  about 
tariff  questions. 

In  the  fall  of  1916  he  was  back  in  Heidelberg,  studying  the  Hebrew 
prophets  and  working  on  various  sections  of  Wirtschaft  und  Gesell- 
schaft.  In  the  summer  of  191 7  he  vacationed  at  his  wife's  home  in  West- 
phalia, reading  the  poetry  of  Stefan  George  and  Gundolf's  book  on 
Goethe.  In  the  winters  of  1917  and  1918,  socialist-pacifist  students  fre- 
quented his  'open  hours'  on  Sundays  in  Heidelberg.  The  young  com- 
munist, Ernst  Toller,  was  among  them;  frequently  he  read  his  poetry 
aloud.  Later,  when  Toller  was  arrested,  Weber  spoke  for  him  in  the 


military  court  and  effected  his  release,  although  he  could  not  prevent 
the  removal  of  the  student  group  from  the  university. 

In  April  1918,  he  moved  to  Vienna  for  a  summer  term  at  the  uni- 
versity. These  were  his  first  university  lectures  for  nineteen  years.  Under 
the  title,  'A  Positive  Critique  of  the  Materialist  Conception  of  History,' 
he  presented  his  sociology  of  world  religions  and  politics.  His  lectures 
became  events  for  the  university,  and  he  had  to  perform  them  in  the 
largest  hall  available,  as  professors,  state  officials,  and  politicians  attended. 
Yet  he  experienced  compulsive  anxieties  about  these  lectures,  using 
opiates  in  order  to  induce  sleep.  Vienna  University  offered  him  a  per- 
manent position,  but  he  did  not  accept. 

In  1918  Weber  shifted  from  Monarchist  to  Republican  loyalties.  As 
Meinecke  said,  'We  have  turned  from  being  Monarchists  at  heart  to 
being  Republicans  by  reason.'  He  abstained  from  accepting  any  political 
position  in  the  new  regime.  A  whole  series  of  academic  positions  were 
offered  to  him:  Berlin,  Gottingen,  Bonn,  and  Munich.  He  accepted  the 
Munich  offer,  going  there  in  the  summer  of  1919  as  Brentano's  suc- 
cessor. In  Munich,  he  lived  through  the  excitement  of  the  Bavarian  Dic- 
tatorship and  its  collapse.  His  last  lectures  were  worked  out  at  the  re- 
quest of  his  students  and  have  been  published  as  General  Economic 
History.  In  midsummer,  he  fell  ill,  and,  at  a  late  stage  of  his  disease,  a 
doctor  was  able  to  diagnose  his  condition  as  deep-seated  pneumonia.  He 
died  in  June  1920. 

Max  Weber  belonged  to  a  generation  of  universal  scholars,  and  there 
are  definite  sociological  conditions  for  scholarship  of  the  kind  he  dis- 
played. One  such  condition  was  a  gymnasium  education,  which,  in 
Weber's  case,  equipped  him  in  such  a  way  that  the  Indo-Germanic 
languages  were  but  so  many  dialects  of  one  linguistic  medium.  (A  read- 
ing knowledge  of  Hebrew  and  Russian  was  acquired  by  the  way.)  An 
intellectually  stimulating  family  background  gave  him  a  head-start  and 
made  it  possible  for  him  to  study  an  unusual  combination  of  specialized 
subjects.  When  he  had  passed  his  law  examination,  he  was  at  the  same 
time  a  well-equipped  economist,  historian,  and  philosopher.  And  by  vir- 
tue of  having  participated,  through  the  Strassburg  branch  of  his  family, 
in  the  theological  disputes  of  the  time,  he  was  sufficiently  acquainted 
with  the  literature  of  theology  to  handle  it  expertly. 

It  is  clear  that  the  enormous  amount  of  work  Weber  turned  out 


would  not  have  been  possible  without  a  certain  type  o£  fruitful  leisure. 
Materially,  this  was  made  possible,  at  first,  by  his  position  as  a  scholar 
in  a  German  university.  The  career  pattern  in  these  universities  gave  the 
German  docent  time  for  research  during  the  years  when  the  young 
American  academician  is  overburdened  with  teaching.  In  addition,  there 
was  no  pressure  for  rapid  publication — as  attested  by  the  fact  that  many 
book-length  chapters  of  Wirtschaft  und  Gesellschajt,  written  before 
World  War  I,  were  published  after  1920.  In  his  middle  life  Weber  came 
into  an  inheritance  that  was  sufficient  to  relieve  him  of  serious  worry 
about  money. 

The  relative  lack  of  pressure  for  'practical'  and  immediately  'useful' 
knowledge,  conditioned  by  a  strongly  humanist  atmosphere,  allowed  for 
the  pursuit  of  themes  remote  from  the  practical  demands  of  the  day.  In 
the  social  sciences  this  was  the  more  the  case  because  the  impact  of 
Marxism  almost  required  that  the  academician  take  up  the  question  of 
capitaUsm  as  an  epochal  structure,  rather  than  narrowed  and  'practical' 
themes.  In  this  connection  the  freedom  of  the  university  from  local  pres- 
sures was  important. 

Long  decades  of  peace  for  Germany,  from  1870  to  1914,  coupled  with 
general  prosperity,  had  entirely  changed  the  conditions  of  German  schol- 
arship. The  petty  bourgeois  professor,  harried  by  money  matters,  had 
been  replaced  by  an  upper-class  academician  with  a  large  home  and  a 
maid.  This  change  facilitated  the  establishment  of  an  intellectual  salon. 
It  is  from  this  position  that  Weber  saw  the  residences  of  American  uni- 
versity professors. 

The  intellectual  traditions  and  the  accumulated  scholarship  of  Ger- 
many, especially  in  history,  the  classics,  psychology,  theology,  compara- 
tive literature,  philology,  and  philosophy,  gave  the  late-nineteenth-cen- 
tury German  scholar  a  pre-eminent  base  upon  which  to  build  his  work. 
And  the  clash  of  two  bodies  of  intellectual  work,  the  conservative  inter- 
pretation of  ideas  by  academicians  in  the  tradition  of  Hegel  and  Ranke, 
and  the  radical  intellectual  production  of  non-academic  socialists,  Kaut- 
sky,  Bernstein,  and  Mehring,  formed  a  unique  and  challenging  intel- 
lectual tension. 

A  number  of  contradictory  elements  stood  in  tension  with  one  another 
and  made  up  the  life  and  views  of  Max  Weber.  If,  as  he  wrote,  'men 
are  not  open  books,'  we  should  certainly  not  expect  to  find  even  an  easy 
index  to  his  many-sided  existence.  To  understand  him,  we  have  to  grasp 
a  series  of  irrational  half-paradoxes. 


Although  he  was  personally  irreligious — in  his  own  words,  'religiously 
unmusical' — he  nevertheless  spent  a  good  part  of  his  scholarly  energy 
in  tracing  the  effects  of  religion  upon  human  conduct  and  life.  It  may 
not  be  irrelevant  in  this  connection  to  repeat  that  his  mother  and  her 
family  were  deeply  pious  and  that  in  his  early  student  days  Weber  lived 
close  to  friends  and  relatives  who  suffered  extraordinary  religious  and 
psychic  states;  these  experiences  profoundly  impressed  themselves  upon 
him.  That  he  despised  the  conventional  'church'  Christianity  goes  with- 
out saying,  yet  he  had  pity  and  condescension  for  those  who  in  political 
tragedy  and  personal  despair  sacrificed  their  intellects  to  the  refuge  of 
the  altar. 

Many  of  his  friends  considered  his  sincere  devotion  to  his  work,  the 
obvious  pathos  and  dignity  of  his  bearing,  and  the  forcefulness  and  in- 
sight of  his  speech  as  religious  phenomena.  Yet  his  work  is  hardly  un- 
derstandable without  an  appreciation  of  his  disenchanted  view  of  re- 
ligious matters.  His  love  for  his  mother  and  his  genuine  detachment 
from  'religion'  prevented  him  from  ever  falling  into  the  Promethean 
blasphemy  of  Nietzsche,  the  greatest  atheist  of  the  nineteenth  century, 
which  he  saw,  in  the  last  analysis,  as  a  'painful  residue  of  the  bourgeois 
Philistine.' '° 

Weber  was  one  of  the  last  of  the  'political  professors'  who  made  de- 
tached contributions  to  science,  and,  as  the  intellectual  vanguard  of  the 
middle  classes,  were  also  leading  political  figures.  Despite  this  fact,  for 
the  sake  of  'objectivity'  and  the  freedom  of  his  students,  Weber  fought 
against  'the  Treitschkes,'  who  used  cloistered  academic  halls  as  forums 
of  political  propaganda.  Although  he  was  passionately  concerned  with 
the  course  of  German  policy,  in  theory  he  rigidly  segregated  his  role  as  a 
professor  and  scientist  from  that  of  a  publicist.  Yet,  when  his  friend 
Brentano,  in  Munich,  asked  him  to  accept  a  position,  he  answered  that 
were  he  to  accept  any  professorship,  'I  would  have  to  ask  whether  it  would 
not  be  better  to  have  someone  who  holds  my  views  in  Berlin  at  the 
present  time  as  a  counterweight  against  the  absolute  opportunism  which 
now  has  the  say  there.'  ^^ 

Throughout  his  life,  Weber  was  a  nationalist  and  believed  in  the 
mission  of  the  Herrenvol\,  yet  at  the  same  time  he  fought  for  individual 
freedom  and,  with  analytic  detachment,  characterized  the  ideas  of  na- 
tionalism and  racism  as  justificatory  ideologies  used  by  the  ruling  class, 
and  their  hireling  publicists,  to  beat  their  impositions  into  weaker  mem- 
bers of  the  polity.  He  had  great  esteem  for  the  matter-of-fact  conduct 


of  labor  leaders  during  the  collapse  of  Germany,  yet  he  lashed  out  against 
the  doctrinal  drill  with  which  these  same  men  domesticated  the  masses 
and  trained  them  to  believe  in  a  future  'paradise'  to  be  brought  about 
by  revolution.  He  was  proud  of  being  a  Prussian  officer,  and  yet  as- 
serted in  public  that  the  Kaiser,  his  commander-in-chief,  was  something 
of  yv^hich  all  Germans  should  be  ashamed.  A  Prussian  officer  and  a 
member  of  a  dueling  corps,  he  nevertheless  did  not  mind  rooming  in  a 
Brussels  hotel  over  which  flew  a  red.  International  flag.  A  model  of  the 
self-conscious  masculinity  of  Imperial  Germany,  he  nevertheless  encour- 
aged the  first  woman  labor  official  in  Germany  and  made  vital  speeches 
to  members  of  the  woman's  emancipation  movement  of  the  early  twen- 
tjieth  century.  ^ 

Weber  appears  to  have  been  an  eminent  academic  teacher,  and  yet  his 
health  kept  him  from  academic  lectures  for  almost  two  decades.  Al- 
though a  scholar,  he  felt  out  of  place  in  the  academic  chair  and  truly 
at  home  on  the  political  platform.  In  his  insistence  on  precision  and 
balance,  his  prose  is  full  of  clauses  and  reservations,  in  the  most  schol- 
arly and  difficult  fashion.  Yet  at  times  he  felt  himself  to  be  comparable 
to  the  demagogues  of  ancient  Judea  haranguing  to  the  crowd  in  the 

Among  those  who  had  dealings  with  him,  the  figure  of  Weber  was 
highly  controversial.  At  Heidelberg,  many  of  his  colleagues  saw  him  as 
a  difficult  person,  who  because  of  demanding  conscience  and  rigidity  of 
honor  was  highly  inconvenient  and  somewhat  troublesome.  Perhaps  he 
was  seen  as  hypochondriac.  In  the  eyes  of  many  friends  and  disciples,  he 
appeared  as  an  overtowering  intellect.  A  Viennese  journalist  describes 
him  in  the  following  cliches: 

Tall  and  fully  bearded,  this  scholar  resembles  one  of  the  German  stone 
masons  of  the  Renaissance  period;  only  the  eyes  lack  the  naivete  and  sensu- 
ous joy  of  the  artist.  His  gaze  is  from  the  innermost,  from  hidden  passages, 
and  it  reaches  into  the  greatest  distances.  His  manner  of  expression  corre- 
sponds to  the  man's  exterior;  it  is  infinitely  plastic.  We  meet  here  an  almost 
Hellenic  way  of  seeing  things.  The  words  are  simply  formed,  and,  in  their 
quiet  simplicity,  they  remind  us  of  Cyclopic  blocks. 

A  disciple  in  Munich,  who  was  personally  distant  from  Weber,  wor- 
shiping him  from  afar,  compared  him  to  Diirer's  knight:  without  fear 
or  favor,  taking  a  straight  course  between  death  and  the  devil.  And  Karl 
Jaspers  saw  him  as  a  new  type  of  man  who  had  the  poise  to  hold  to- 


gether  in  synthesis  the  tremendous  tensions  of  his  own  self  as  well  as 
the  confadictions  of  external  public  life  without  resorting  to  illusions. 
Every  day  that  Weber  'wasted  for  things  political'  instead  of  objectifying 
himself  seemed  a  pitiful  loss  to  Jaspers. 

In  spite  of  the  pathos  of  objectivity  that  is  felt  so  intensely  by  the 
student  of  Weber's  work,  it  nevertheless  contains  passages  that  refer  to 
Weber's  image  of  himself.  The  most  obvious  of  these  are  found  in  his 
characterization  of  certain  Hebrew  prophets.^"  When  the  course  of  the 
war  and  the  collapse  of  Germany  confirmed  what  Weber  had  anticipated 
for  two  decades,  and  the  German  people  alone  were  proclaimed  guilty 
for  all  the  misfortunes  of  the  war,  Weber  felt  that  the  Germans  were  a 
pariah  people.  During  the  course  of  his  studies  in  ancient  Judaism,  in 
iQij5  and  IQ17,  he  was  profoundly  moved  by  the  analogies  he  saw  be- 
tween the  situation  of  the  ancient  Hebrew  peoples  and  modern  Ger- 
many.  It  was  not  only  the  public  and  historical  situation  he  saw  as 
parallel;  in  the  personality  of  many  prophets  and  in  their  irregular  and 
compulsive  psychic  states,  particularly  of  Jeremiah.  Weber  saw  features 
he  felt  resembled  his  own.  When  he  read  passages  of  this  manuscript  to 
his  wife,  she  was  touched  in  immediately  seeing  that  this  reading  was 
an  indirect  analysis  of  himself. 

Perhaps  it  was  only  in  this  fashion  that  Weber,  who  since  childhood 
was  incapable  of  directly  revealing  himself,  could  communicate  his  own 
self-image.  Thus,  what  was  most  personal  to  him  is  accessible  and  at 
the  same  time  hidden  by  the  objectification  of  his  work.  By  interpreting 
the  prophets  of  disaster  and  doom,  Weber  illuminated  his  own  personal 
and  public  experiences. 

This  assimilation  of  his  image  of  self  into  a  historical  figure  stands 
in  a  broad  tradition  of  humanism,  historicism,  and  romanticism  so  char- 
acteristic of  the  nineteenth  century.  Eminent  intellectuals  and  even  states- 
men of  that  century  often  fashioned  their  images  of  themselves  in  the 
costumes  of  historical  figures.  Thus  Napoleon  simulated  Alexander  the 
Great;  and  the  revolutionary  republicans  of  the  great  upheavals  saw 
themselves  in  terms  of  'the  lives  of  Plutarch.'  In  Germany,  this  illusionist 
tendency  remained  strong  throughout  the  epoch  of  liberalism.  Some  of 
the  best  of  German  youth,  among  them  Francis  Lieber,  went  out  to 
help  the  Greeks  in  their  fight  for  liberation  against  the  Turks.  But  the 
ragged  horse  trader  of  the  Balkan  mountains  shattered  the  marble  image 
of  the  ancient  Greek.  Historical  illusions  were  used  as  a  backdrop  of  one's 
life  and  perhaps  to  compensate  for  the  banaHty  of  the  Philistinism,  which 

28  THE   MAN   AND  HIS   WORK 

circumscribed  the  daily  routine  of  powerless  German  professors  with 
world-encompassing  ideas. 

If  the  older  Weber  identified  himself  with  Jeremiah  in  the  humanist 
tradition  of  illusion,  he  well  knew  that  he  was  in  truth  no  prophet.  When 
urged  by  an  admiring  young  intelligentsia  to  expound  his  faith,  he  re- 
jected their  pleas,  asserting  that  such  confession  belongs  to  the  circle  of 
intimates  and  not  the  public.  Only  prophets,  artists,  and  saints  might  bare 
their  souls  in  public.  For  Weber,  modern  society  is  godless,  and  prophets 
as  well  as  saints  are  singularly  out  of  place.  He  only  offered  Isaiah's  sug- 
gestion: 'He  calleth  to  me  out  of  Seir,  Watchman,  what  of  the  night? 
Watchman,  what  of  the  night?  The  watchman  said,  The  morning  com- 
eth,  and  also  the  night:  if  ye  will  enquire,  enquire  ye:  return,  come.' 


If  we  are  to  understand  Weber's  biography  as  a  whole,  we  must  ex- 
amine his  tensions  and  his  repeated  psychic  disturbances.  Several  Unes 
of  interpretation  are  possible;  jointly  or  separately,  they  may  offer  an 

Max  Weber  may  have  been  hereditarily  burdened  by  a  constitutional 
affliction,  which  undoubtedly  ran  through  his  family  line.  Some  evi- 
dence for  this  interpretation,  which  is  the  simplest  one,  is  readily  at 
hand.  Weber's  wife  was  a  distant  relative  of  his,  and  male  relatives  of 
hers  ended  their  lives  in  insane  asylums.  Furthermore,  a  cousin  of  his 
entered  the  asylum,  to  which  Weber  himself  was  sent  during  his  most 
severe  breakdown. 

If  we  are  willing  to  see  Weber's  affliction  as  purely  functional,  we 
may  then  follow  either  one  of  two  different  lines  of  evidence:  We  may 
try  to  locate  his  personal  difficulties  in  the  private  contexts  of  those  dear 
to  him:  mother,  father,  loves,  wife;  or  we  may  deal  primarily  with  him 
in  public  contexts. 

With  reference  to  his  personal  relations,  we  may  recall  that  Weber 
was  a  quiet,  observant,  and  prematurely  intelligent  boy,  who  must  have 
been  worried  under  the  strain  of  the  increasingly  bad  relation  between 
his  father  and  mother.  His  strong  sense  of  chivalry  was,  in  part,  a  re- 
sponse to  the  patriarchal  and  domineering  attitude  of  his  father,  who 
understood  his  wife's  love  as  a  willingness  to  serve  and  to  allow  herself 
to  be  exploited  and  controlled  by  him.  This  situation  came  to  a  climax 
when  Weber,  at  the  age  of  31,  in  the  presence  of  his  mother  and  his 


wife,  saw  fit  to  hold  judgment  over  his  father:  he  would  remorselessly 
break  all  relations  with  him  unless  he  met  the  son's  condition:  the 
mother  should  visit  him  'alone'  without  the  father.  We  have  noted  that 
the  father  died  only  a  short  time  after  this  encounter  and  that  Weber 
came  out  of  the  situation  with  an  ineffaceable  sense  of  guilt.  One  may 
certainly  infer  an  inordinately  strong  Oedipus  situation. 

Throughout  his  life,  Weber  maintained  a  full  correspondence  with 
his  mother,  who  once  referred  to  him  as  'an  older  daughter,'  She  eagerly 
sought  counsel  with  him,  her  first-born,  rather  than  with  her  husband, 
in  matters  concerning  the  demeanor  of  her  third  son.  One  should  also 
pay  heed  to  what  was,  to  be  sure,  a  passing  phase  of  young  Weber's 
aspiration:  his  desire  to  become  a  real  he-man  at  the  university.  After 
only  three  semesters,  he  succeeded  in  changing  externally  from  a  slender 
mother's  boy  to  a  massive,  beer-drinking,  duel-marked,  cigar-puffing 
student  of  Imperial  Germany,  whom  his  mother  greeted  with  a  slap  in 
the  face.  Clearly,  this  was  the  father's  son.  The  two  models  of  identifi- 
cation and  their  associated  values,  rooted  in  mother  and  father,  never 
disappeared  from  Max  Weber's  inner  life. 

A  similar  tension,  and  subsequent  source  of  guilt,  occurred  when 
Weber  found  himself  estranged  from  an  earlier  love,  another  cousin  o£ 
his,  whom  both  his  mother  and  his  maternal  aunt  favored.  This  situa- 
tion was  all  the  more  painful  to  him  because  his  mother  joyfully  saw 
Marianne,  his  future  wife,  wooed  by  a  close  friend  of  Max.  In  marrying 
Marianne,  Weber  was  thus  beset  by  guilt  from  two  sources:  he  was 
almost  ready  to  resign  his  love  in  favor  of  his  friend,  and  he  was  almost 
ready  to  marry  a  mentally  burdened  and  unstable  girl.  His  proposal  let- 
ter to  his  wife,  dealing  with  this  situation,  seems  as  much  a  confession 
of  guilt  as  a  love  letter.  And  later  letters  to  his  wife  are  apologetic  for 
sacrificing  his  marriage  with  her  by  allowing  his  energies  to  be  used  up 
in  the  'inner  treadmill'  of  his  intellectual  life. 

The  Webers  were  childless,  and  he  did  not  fail  to  assert  his  virility  in 
public  by  summoning  others  to  duels  in  a  manner  which  stressed  his 
special  dignity  as  a  Prussian  officer.  Yet  at  the  same  time,  as  a  writer, 
he  was  ready  publicly  to  deflate  Prussian  militarism  and  its  officer- 
bureaucracy  for  standing  behind  such  educational  institutions  as  the 
dueling  corps  designed  to  'break  in'  upper-class  youth  to  the  discipline 
required  in  the  career,  A  profound  individual  humanism,  the  'freedom 
of  a  Christian,'  and  the  lofty  heights  of  his  ethical  demands  were  derived 
from  identification  with  his  mother. 


We  may  shift  from  personal  relations  and  the  difficulties  that  may 
have  arisen  from  them;  Weber  was  also  an  intellectual  involved  in  the 
political  events  of  his  day.  He  made  matters  of  public  concern  his  vol- 
untary burden.  With  an  extraordinary  sense  of  responsibility,  he  felt  inti- 
mately called  to  politics.  Yet  he  had  no  power  and  no  position  from 
which  his  word  could  tip  the  balance  of  policy.  And  tensions  arose  from 
this  fact. 

Weber  does  not  seem  to  have  had  much  basis  for  his  intense  identifi- 
cation with  Germany.  He  tore  down  the  Junkers,  the  workers,  as  well 
as  the  spineless  Philistines  among  the  middle  classes,  who  longed  for  a 
Caesar  to  protect  them  from  the  bogey  of  socialist  labor  and  from  the 
patriarchalism  of  the  petty  dynasties.  When  Weber  traveled,  his  first 
idea  was  to  get  out  of  Germany.  And  only  too  frequently,  with  the 
resentment  of  the  unsuccessful  lover,  he  throws  out  angry  words  about 
turning  his  back  forever  upon  what  he  felt  to  be  a  hopeless  nation. 
The  Kaiser,  to  whom  he  was  bound  by  oath  as  a  Prussian  officer,  was  a 
constant  object  of  his  public  contempt. 

Only  rarely  do  we  get  a  glimpse  into  what  nourished  his  love  of  his 
country  and  people.  At  the  Exposition  in  St.  Louis  he  viewed  the  Ger- 
man exhibition  of  arts,  crafts,  and  industrial  products  with  pride,  feel- 
ing that  the  skill,  imagination,  and  artistic  craftsmanship  of  the  Germans 
were  second  to  none.  When  he  mingled  with  itinerant  socialist  workers 
in  Brussels  and  was  told  that  a  good  proportion  of  the  most  skillful 
tailors  in  Paris  and  of  the  most  skilled  cobblers  in  London  were  from 
German  Austria,  he  took  pride  in  belonging  to  a  fellowship  of  self-for- 
gotten workers,  who  knew  nothing  better  than  devotion  to  the  work 
at  hand. 

This  attitude  enables  us  to  understand  how  his  own  ascetic  drive  for 
work  was  linked  with  his  belief  that  the  most  prominent  traits  of  the 
German  people  were  the  plebeian  qualities  of  commoners  and  workers, 
lacking  the  social  graces  of  the  Latin  courtier  as  well  as  the  religiously 
motivated  discipline  and  conventionality  of  the  Anglo-Saxon  gentleman. 
His  own  devotion  to  his  work  was  a  realization  of  his  duty  to  the  fel- 
lowship of  Germans.  At  the  end  of  November  1918,  he  wrote:  'One  has 
seen  all  the  weaknesses,  but  if  one  wishes,  one  may  also  see  the  fabulous 
capacity  of  work,  the  superbity  and  matter-of-factness,  the  capacity — not 
the  attainment — of  beautifying  everyday  life,  in  contrast  to  the  beauty  of 
ecstacy  or  of  the  gestures  of  other  nations.' 


Just  as  his  relation  to  his  father  was  a  source  of  guilt,  so  Weber  de- 
veloped strong  guilt  feelings  for  living  under  the  Kaiser: 

The  measure  of  contempt  given  our  nation  abroad  (Italy,  America,  every- 
where!), and  after  all  deservedly  so! — and  this  is  decisive — ^because  we  tolerate 
this  man's  regime  has  become  a  factor  for  us  of  first-rate  world  political  im- 
portance. Anyone  who  reads  the  foreign  press  for  a  few  months  must  notice 
this.  We  are  isolated  because  this  man  rules  us  in  this  fashion  and  because 
we  tolerate  it  and  whitewash  it.  No  man  or  party  who  in  any  sense  cultivates 
democratic,  and  at  the  same  time  national,  political  ideals  should  assume  re- 
sponsibility for  this  regime,  the  continuance  of  which  endangers  our  world 
position  more  than  all  colonial  problems  of  any  kind.^^ 

Surely  Weber's  life  illustrates  the  manner  in  which  a  man's  relation  to 
political  authority  may  be  modeled  upon  his  relation  to  family  disci- 
plines. One  has  only  to  add,  with  Rousseau,  that  in  the  family  the 
father's  love  for  his  children  compensates  him  for  the  care  he  extends 
to  them;  while  in  the  State  the  pleasure  of  commanding  makes  up  for 
the  love  which  the  political  chief  does  not  have  for  his  people.^* 

11.  X  oliticai  (^ 


In  many  ways,  Max  Weber's  life  and  thought  are  expressions  of  political 
events  and  concerns.  His  political  stands,  which  must  be  understood  in 
terms  of  private  contexts  as  well  as  public  happenings,  make  up  a  theme 
inextricably  interwoven  with  Weber  the  man  and  the  intellectual.  For 
he  was  a  political  man  and  a  political  intellectual.  We  have  noticed  how 
the  very  young  Weber  felt  that  Cicero  made  a  fool  of  himself  in  the 
face  of  a  threatened  political  conspiracy.  To  judge  poHtic^  and  rhetoric, 
in  terms  of  consequences  and_to  jTie.asuie_the_motives  of  men  in  terms  of 
the  intended  or  unintended  results  of  their  actions  remained  a  constant 
principle  of  his  political  thinking.  In  this  fundamental  sense,  Weber  the 
scholar  always  wrote  from  the  point  of  view  of  the  active  politician. 

His  early  political  position  was  his  father's  NationaJ  Liberalism.  Un- 
der eminent  leaders,  this  party  had  moved  towards  Bismarck  during  the 
'eighties.  In  this  matter,  they  were  compromised  liberals:  they  wished 
'neither  to  follow  nor  to  fight,  but  to  influence  Bismarck.'  And  they 
allowed  Bismarck  to  fight  the  Kultur/{ampf  against  the  Catholics  and  to 
suppress  socialist  labor.  With  such  policies  being  followed,  and  with  the 
several  splits  among  the  liberal  and  leftist  camp,  Bismarck  could  play 
off  these  parties  against  one  another. 

At  the  age  of  20,  Weber  was  identified  with  the  cause  of  National 
Liberalism,  but  he  was  cautious  not  to  commit  himself  definitely  to  any 
specific  party.  He  was  watchfully  interested  in  the  political  process  as  a 
whole  and  was  an  eager  student  of  the  possible  motives  of  competing 
leaders.  But  he  was  no  'youthful  enthusiast.'  It  was  characteristic  of  this 
detachment  that  when  the  National  Liberals  helped  Bismarck  to  pro- 
long the  'emergency  law'  against  the  socialists,  Weber  commented: 

If  one  wants  to  justify  this  law  one  has  to  take  the  point  of  view,  perhaps 
not  quite  incorrect,  that  without  this  emergency  law  a  considerable  restric- 
tion of  many  accomplishments  of  public  life  would  be  inevitable,  namely,  free- 
dom of  speech,  assembly,  and  of  association.  After  all,  the  Social  Democrats, 



by  their  manner  of  agitation,  were  indeed  going  to  compromise  fundamental 
institutions  of  public  life.  .  .  However,  when  I  think  of  the  matter  quietly, 
sometimes  it  seems  to  me  as  if  equal  rights  for  all  might  be  preferable  to 
everything  else,  and  in  this  case  the  thing  to  do  is  to  muzzle  everybody  rather 
than  to  put  some  in  chains.  The  basic  mistake,  after  all,  seems  to  have  been 
the  Danaer  present  of  Bismarck's  Caesarism,  namely,  the  universal  franchise 
which  was  a  pure  murder  of  equal  rights  for  all  in  the  truest  sense  of  the 

Weber's  evaluation  of  Bismarck,  as  indicated  in  this  passage,  was  not 
to  change.  He  acknowledged  and  admired  his  political  genius  in  relent- 
less pursuit  of  policy  of  unifying  Germany  and  in  attaining  for  the  newly 
created  state  the  position  of  a  great  power.  However,  Weber  was  far 
from  any  uncritical  surrender  to  Bismarck;  he  did  not  heroize  him; 
indeed,  he  had  nothing  but  scorn  for  the  essentially  apolitical  hero  wor- 
ship of  Bismarck  that  spread  through  the  middle  classes  of  Germany. 
Weber's,  basic  criticism  of  Bismarck  was  of  his  intolerance  of  independ-- 
ent-minded  political  leaders,  that  he  surrounded  himself  with  docile  and 
obedient  bureaucrats.  'The  horrible  destruction  of  independent  convic- 
tions which  Bismarck  has  caused  among  us  is,  of  course,  the  main  reason, 
or  at  least  one  of  the  main  reasons,  for  what  is  wrong  with  our  condi- 
tion. But,  do  we  not  bear  at  least  the  same  guilt  as  he?' " 

The^attainmcnt  and  preservation  of  intellectual  liberty  appears  to  have 
been  one  of  Weber's  highest  conscious  values.  He  rejected,  without 
reservation,  BismarcVs  Knltur\a7npj,  just  as  much  as  he  rejected  the 
Prussian  language-policy  for  Germanizing  the  Poles  and  irritating  the 
Alsatians.  Yet  he  called  the  progressives  'sterile,'  especially  in  their  heads- 
I-win-tails-you-lose  budget  figuring.  'One  shivers  to  think  that  these 
people  would  be  called  upon  to  take  Bismarck's  place.'  After  Kaiser 
William  II  ascended  to  the  throne  and  showed  his  tendency  towards  the 
personal  assumption  of  power,  Weber  looked  to  the  future  with  profound 
anxieties.  'These  Boulangist,  Bonapartist  demonstrations  are  undesirable, 
to  say  the  least.'  ^ 

The  first  traces  of  Weber's  shift  away  from  the  National  Liberalism — 
which  became  more  and  more  a  creature  of  big  business — and  in  the 
direction  of  a  more  progressive  'social  liberalism'  appears  in  1887,  when 
he  was  23.  At  this  time  he  seemed  to  feel  that  the  state  had  an  obligation 
towards  the  weakest  social  stratum,  the  metropolitan  proletariat,  which 
during  the  development  of  Berlin  lived  under  the  typical  miserable  con- 
ditions of  early  capitalism.  This  feeling  of  social  responsibility  was,  after 


all,  one  of  paternalism.  Hence,  Weber  voted  Conservative,  though  he  did 
not  join  the  Conservative  party. 

His  detailed  studies  of  the  Junker  economy  in  East  Elbian,  Germany, 
undertaken  during  the  early  'nineties  at  the  instigation  of  a  reform 
society,  which  included  'Professorial  socialists,'  were  Weber's  first  eco- 
nomic publications.  They  established  his  reputation  as  an  expert  in 
agrarian  problems.  He  was  trying  to  get  at  the  economic  and  social 
reasons  for  the  displacement  of  the  German  population  in  the  east  by 
Polish-Russian  settlers.  He  demonstrated  that  the  real-estate  and  property 
interests  of  Junker  capitalism  were  responsible  for  the  depopulation  of 
the  German  east,  an  area  that  at  one  time  had  been  a  densely  populated 
peasant  land,  intermixed  with  estates.  By  breaking  down  official  census 
statistics  into  small  units,  Weber  showed  that  irresistible  depopulation 
forces  went  on  wherever  large  entailed  estates  came  into  being.  At  the 
same  time,  the  agrarian  capitalists  imported  Polish  seasonal  laborers, 
who,  by  virtue  of  their  low  standards  of  living  and  exploitability,  dis- 
placed the  German  peasant  population. 

Insight  into  this  process  placed  Weber  in  political  opposition  to  Prussia's 
ruling  class  and  therewith  in  opposition  to  the  class  which,  by  virtue  of  a 
sham  constitutional  setup  of  Prussia,  dominated  the  rest  of  Germany. 
His  opposition  to  these  landlords  rested  upon  a  belief  that  their  interests 
ran  counter  to  the  interests  of  the  nation.  'We  wish  to  forge  small 
peasants  to  the  soil  of  the  fatherland  not  by  legal  but  by  psychological 
chains.  I  say  it  openly:  We  wish  to  exploit  their  land-hunger  in  order  to 
chain  them  to  the  homeland.  And  if  we  had  to  stamp  a  generation  of 
men  into  the  soil  in  order  to  guarantee  the  future  of  Germany,  we  would 
shoulder  this  responsibility.'  * 

In  the  early  'nineties,  Weber  argued  against  historical  materialism  by 
playing  up  the  inexhaustible  complexity  of  causal  pluralism.  For  example, 
he  felt,  for  many  historical  reasons,  that  the  wages  of  farm  hands  did  not 
follow  any  economic  law,  least  of  all  an  'iron  one.'  In  his  1894  lecture  at 
Freiburg,  he  held  that  national  and  ethnic  diflferences  in  the  competitive 
struggle  for  existence  were  more  causally  important  than  economic  and 
class  situations.  Later  his  political  and  intellectual  relations  with  the 
body  of  Marxist  knowledge  were  to  be  quite  different  and  much  more 

Weber's  political  mood  when  he  was  thirty  years  of  age  is  revealed  by 
the  following  passage  from  his  inaugural  lecture  at  Freiburg: 


In  the  main,  the  fruits  of  all  economic,  social,  and  political  endeavors  of  the 
present  will  benefit  not  living  but  future  generations.  If  our  work  can  and 
will  have  meaning,  it  can  only  attempt  to  provide  for  the  future,  that  is, 
for  our  successors.  However,  no  economic  policy  is  possible  on  the  basis  of 
optimistic  hopes  for  happiness.  Lasciate  ogni  speranza  [Man,  if  you  enter 
here,  leave  all  hopes  outside]  stands  written  over  the  door  to  the  unknown 
future  of  human  history.  It  is  not  a  dream  of  peace  and  human  happiness. 
The  question  is  not  how  men  in  the  future  will  feel,  but  rather  who  they 
will  be.  That  is  the  question  which  concerns  us  when  we  think  beyond  the 
graves  of  our  own  generation.  And  in  truth,  this  question  lies  at  the  root  of 
every  economic  and  political  work.  We  do  not  strive  for  man's  future  well- 
being;  we  are  eager  to  breed  in  them  those  traits  with  which  we  link  the 
feeling  that  they  constitute  what  is  humanly  great  and  noble  in  our  na- 
ture. .  .  In  the  last  analysis,  the  processes  of  economic  development  are 
struggles  for  power.  Our  ultimate  yardstick  of  values  is  'reasons  of  state,'  and 
this  is  also  the  yardstick  for  our  economic  reflections.  .  .^ 

Thus,  in  the  middle  'nineties,  Weber  was  an  imperialist,  defending 
the  power-interest  of  the  national  state  as  the  ultimate  value  and  using 
the  vocabulary  of  social  Darwinism.  He  warned  that  economic  power 
and  the  call  for  political  leadership  of  the  nation  did  not  always  coincide. 
He  called  himself  an  'economic  nationalist,'  measuring  the  various  classes 
with  the  yardstick  of  the  state's  political  interests.  The  acquisition  of 
colonies,  the  saber-rattling  speeches  of  the  Kaiser,  and  the  imperial 
grandeur — for  these  Weber  had  nothing  but  the  disdain  of  the  expert 
who  knew  that  they  were  hopeless  nonsense. 

It  is  dangerous  and,  in  the  long  run,  irreconcilable  with  the  Interest  of  the 
nation  if  an  economically  sinking  class  holds  political  power  in  its  hands. 
It  is  still  more  dangerous  if  those  classes  to  whom  economic  power  and 
therewith  the  claim  for  political  authority  is  shifting  are  politically  immature 
in  their  leadership  of  the  state.  Both  are  threatening  Gerrpr^y'-at  this  time 
and,  in  truth,  they  provide  the  keys  to  the  present  danger  of  our  situation.^ 

What  was  this  'dangerous  situation' ."^  German  foreign  policy  was  being 
reoriented:  Bismarck's  treaty  with  Russia  was  not  renewed,  the  oppor- 
tunity for  an  alliance  with  Great  Britain  was  not  seized,  and  a  policy  o£ 
planless  drifting  resulted.  It  was  covered  up  by  braggadocio,  Kaiser-bluff, 
and  led  to  the  political  isolation  of  Germany.  The  leading  strata  of  this 
nation  would  not  orient  it  towards  the  West  or  towards  the  East.  Ger- 
man policies  were  thus  erratically  directed  against  everybody  and  a  series 
of  defeats  was  cloaked  in  boastfulness. 


It  has  been  cogently  argued  that  this  fatal  situation  was  the  result 
of  compromise  between  Western  industrialism  and  Junker  agrarianism. 
The  National  Liberals,  of  course,  were  the  imperialists,  the  Pan-German- 
ists,  the  Anglophobes;  their  pride  was  hurt  and  they  wanted  'to  show  the 
British'  that  Germans,  too,  could  build  ships.  They  pushed  the  navy 
program,  which  Tirpitz  finally  put  over  in  one  of  the  most  adroit  propa- 
ganda campaigns  of  modern  history."  They  won  the  Junkers'  co-operation 
for  this  course  by  granting  them  protectionist  tariffs  in  1902  against  the 
imports  of  grain  from  the  United  States  and  Russia.  The  Junkers  as  such 
did  not  care  for  the  graessliche  Flotte,  and,  landlubbers  as  they  were, 
they  did  not  think  much  of  over-seas  empire,  with  its  commerce  and 
colonies.  They  remained  provincial,  they  felt  politically  close  to  Russian 
Czarism,  and  they  were  suspicious  of  the  interests  of  Western  industry 
in  naval  construction,  which  masqueraded  as  the  National  Task. 

Both  Junkers  and  industrialists,  however,  feared  the  mass  organizations 
of  the  ascending  Social  Democrats,  the  clamor  for  democracy,  and  the 
attacks  against  the  Prussian  system  of  class  suffrage.  The  compromise  of 
the  respective  class  interests  of  industrial  National  Liberals  and  agrarian 
Junker  Conservatives  was  thus  directed  against  the  democratic  and 
socialist  Labor  party.  And  their  compromise  led  to  the  discarding  of 
any  foreign  policy  involving  alliances  with  effective  naval  or  military 

The  political  and  economic  compromises  of  the  East  and  West  led  to 
the  social  fusion  of  Junkerdom  with  the  new  industrial  stratum.  It  was 
symptomatic  of  these  changes  that  Bertha  Krupp,  Alfred  Krupp's  only 
heir,  married  the  nobleman,  von  Bohlen,  an  imperial  career  diplomat; 
and  the  Kaiser  attended  the  wedding.  The  Crown  also  lost  prestige 
through  the  scandalous  exposures  of  the  political  police  in  the  Tausch 
trial,  the  morally  unsavory  atmosphere  of  court  circles  exposed  by  Maxi- 
milian Harden  in  his  crusade  against  Prince  Eulenburg,  the  series  of 
humiliations  of  the  Kaiser  in  the  foreign  field,  the  more  intense  war 
scares,  and  the  general  armament  and  naval  race.  These  were  some  of  the 
events  and  trends  that  made  Max  Weber  feel  as  if  he  were  riding  on  'an 
express  train  moving  towards  an  abyss  and  not  feeling  certain  whether 
the  next  switch  has  been  set  right.' 

Weber  was  friendly  with  a  'radical'  parson,  Naumann,  who  flirted 
with  socialist  ideas  and  who  under  Weber's  influence  turned  nationalist. 
In  1894,  Parson  Naumann  founded  a  'little  magazine'  to  which  Weber 
contributed.^  For  a  few  years,  Weber  was  in  contact  with  the  attempts 


of  these  parsons,  teachers,  civil  servants,  artisans,  and  a  few  workers — a 
typical  petty  bourgeois  circle — to  organize  a  little  party.  They  wished  to 
create  national  unity  by  spreading  a  sense  of  social  responsibility  among 
bourgeois  classes  and  training  socialist  labor  for  nationalism."  Max 
Weber's  mother  and  Mrs.  Baumgarten  forwarded  Naumann's  campaign 
for  a  seat  in  the  Reichstag,  Although  he  did  not  lose  a  friendly  contact, 
Weber  soon  impatiently  broke  his  active  connection  with  this  group. 

In  1897,  Weber  made  a  campaign  speech  in  the  Saar  in  the  district  of 
Baron  von  Stumm,  the  coal  magnate,  who  was  pressing  for  legislation  to 
punish  trade-union  leaders  in  case  of  strikes.  Although  he  spoke  in  favor 
of  industrial  capitalism,  which  he  felt  was  indispensable  for  national 
power,  he  also  believed  strongly  in  'individual  liberty.'  He  had  been  a 
member  of  the  Pan-Germanic  League,  but  he  broke  with  it  in  1899 
'in  order  to  gain  my  freedom'  and  because  'my  voice  does  not  count 
in  its  policy.'  ^° 

In  1903,  after  the  worst  of  his  psychic  collapses,  he  cut  loose  from 
and  attacked  the  conservative  romanticism  behind  which  the  material 
and  political  class  interests  of  dynasty  and  Junkers  were  hidden.  This  was 
just  before  he  left  for  America.  After  returning  to  Germany  in  1905,  his 
political  interests  were  aroused  by  the  first  Russian  revolution  of  190^- 
Since  he  took  the  trouble  to  learn  Russian,  he  was  able  to  follow  events  in 
several  Russian  dailies.  He  was  also  in  frequent  conversations  with  the 
Russian  political  scientist,  T.  Kistiakovski — one  of  the  intellectual  leaders 
of  leftist  bourgeois  liberalism  in  Russia — who  worked  for  the  revolution. 
The  result  of  these  studies  was  two  exemplary  essays  in  political  sociology, 
which  Weber  published  as  special  issues  of  the  Archiv.  By  a  sociological 
analysis  of  classes  and  parties  in  Russia,  Weber — among  other  trains  of 
thought — indicated  that  should  the  Czar  fall,  after  a  European  war,  and 
the  extreme  left  come  to  power  in  another  revolution,  an  unheard-of 
bureaucratization  of  the  entire  social  structure  of  Russia  might  well  result. 

Weber's  intellectual  production  had  begun  again  shortly  after  his  re- 
turn from  America  in  1904.  This  was  a  time  of  political  crisis  for  Ger- 
rnany,  brought  about  in  part  by  the  speeches  of  the  Kaiser  and  his 
excursions  to  Africa.  By  1906  the  entente  cordial  was  shaping,  and  Ger- 
many's diplomatic  isolation  and  decline  from  Bismarckian  heights  were 
obvious.  The  symbol  of  the  nation,  the  Kaiser,  had  become  the  target  of 
international  ridicule.  Weber  saw  the  root  of  these  difficulties  in  a  politi- 
cal structure  that  prevented  the  efficient  selection  of  responsible  political 
leaders.  He  was  grieved  that  Germany's  sham  constitutionalism  made 


political  careers  unattractive  to  talented  and  eflFective  men,  who  preferred 
to  enter  business  or  science. 

From  such  views  as  these,  Weber  moved  slowly  towards  a  'democratic' 
stand,  though  of  a  somewhat  unique  and  complex  nature.  He  did  not 
believe  in  democracy  as  an  intrinsically  valuable  body  of  ideas:  'natural 
law,'  'the  equality  of  men,'  their  intrinsic  claim  to  'equal  rights.' He  saw 
democratic  institutions  and  ideas  pragmatically;  not  in  terms  of  their 
'inner  worth'  but  in  terms  of  their  consequences  in  the  selection  of  effi- 
cient political  leaders.  And  he  felt  that  in  modern  society  such  leaders 
must  be  able  to  build  up  and  control  a  large,  well-disciplined  machine, 
in  the  American  sense.  The  choice  was  between  a  leaderless  democracy 
or  a  democracy  run  by  the  leaders  of  large-party  bureaucracies. 

For  Weber,  the  universal  franchise,  the  struggle  for  votes,  and  the  free- 
dom of  organization  had  no  value  unless  they  resulted  in  powerful 
political  leaders  willing  to  assume  responsibility  rather  than  evade  it 
and  cover  up  their  deeds  behind  court  cliques  and  imperial  bureaucrats 
who  happened  to  have  the  Kaiser's  favor. 

Before  Weber's  critical  examination,  no  single  German  stratum  seemed 
to  be  satisfactory  for  the  job  at  hand.  Accordingly,  he  raised  a  critical 
voice,  first  of  all  against  the  head  of  the  nation,  the  Kaiser,  whom  he 
scathingly  derided  as  a  dilettante  covering  behind  divine  right  of  kings. 
The  structure  of  German  party  life  seemed  hopeless  as  a  check  on  the 
uncontrolled  power  of  a  politically  docile  but  technically  perfected  bureau- 
cratic machine.  He  pierced  the  radical  phrases  of  the  Social  Democrats  as 
the  hysterical  howling  of  powerless  party  journalists  drilling  the  masses 
for  an  intellectual  goosestep,  thus  making  them  more  amenable  to  manip- 
ulation by  the  bureaucracy.  At  the  same  time,  the  Utopian  comfort 
contained  in  revisionist  Marxism's  automatic  drift  into  paradise  appeared 
to  substitute  a  harmless  complacency  for  righteous  indignation.  And  he 
thought  that  the  Social  Democrats'  refusal  to  make  any  compromises 
with  bourgeois  parties  and  assume  cabinet  responsibilities  was  one  of  the 
factors  blocking  the  introduction  of  constitutional  government.  Later 
political  analyses  made  by  Weber  sprang  from  this  desperate  search  for  a 
stratum  that  would  measure  up  to  the  political  tasks  of  leadership  in  an 
era  of  imperialist  rivalry. 

In  the  fall  of  191 1,  a  militarist-minded  official  of  a  German  university 
made  a  speech  in  which  he  chastised  pacifist  elements  as  'silly'  and  spoke 
of  the  'sentimentality  for  peace.'  A  general  attending  the  beer  festival 
that  followed  the  speech  saw  fit  to  dub  pacifists  as  'men  who  wear  trou- 



sers  but  have  nothing  in  them  and  wish  to  make  poHtical  eunuchs  out 
o£  the  people.'  ^^  When  several  professors  of  Freiburg  defended  these 
speeches  against  press  attacks,  Weber  wrote  a  memorandum  against  what 
appeared  to  him  as  'small-town  stuff.'  He  warned  that  if  Germany  should 
have  to  go  to  war,  'her  crowned  dilettante'  (the  Kaiser)  would  interfere 
with  the  leadership  of  the  army  and  ruin  everything.  It  is  interesting  that 
Weber,  a  confirmed  nationalist  believing  in  force  as  the  last  argument  of 
any  policy,  nevertheless  submitted  the  following  paragraph:  'To  char- 
acterize a  criticism  of  definite  political  ideals,  no  matter  how  high-minded, 
as  an  undermining  of  moral  forces  must  call  forth  justified  protests.  In 
"ethics"  the  pacifists  are  undoubtedly  our  "betters."  .  .  Policy  making  is 
not  a  moral  trade,  nor  can  it  ever  be.'  ^"  In  spite  of  this  appreciation  of 
the  ethical  sincerity  of  such  pacifists  as  Tolstoy^  we  must  recall  Weber's 
own  desire  for  personal  participation  in  the  war. 

During  the  war,  he  was  against  the  annexation  of  Belgium,  but^  this 
is  not  to  say  that  Weber  had  no  imperialist  aspirations.  He  clamored  for 
'military  bases'  as  far  flung  as  Warsaw  and  to  the  north  of  there.  And  | 
he  wished  the  German  army  to  occupy  Liege  and  Namur  for  twenty  * 

In  October  1915  he  wrote:  'Every  victory  brings  us  further  from  peace. 
This  is  the  uniqueness  of  the  situation.'  He  was  beyond  himself  when 
Austria  allowed  Italy  to  break  away  from  her.  'The  entire  statesmanship 
of  the  last  twenty-five  years  is  collapsing,  and  it  is  very  poor  satisfaction 
always  to  have  said  it.  The  war  can  now  last  forever.'  He  wrote  a  memo- 
randum addressed  to  the  Government  and  to  members  of  the  German 
Parliament,  but  it  remained  on  his  own  desk.  In  it  are  such  statements 
as:  'It  is  against  German  interests  to  force  a  peace  of  which  the  main  re- 
sult would  be  that  the  heel  of  the  German  boot  in  Europe  stands  upon 
everyone's  toes/^^  He  saw  that  sheer  prolongation  of  the  war  would 
bring  world  industrial  supremacy  to  America.  He  was  alarmed  about  the 
imperialism,  which  ran  rampant  through  heavy  industry  and  the  princely 
houses.  Desperately  he  wrote:  'I  will  learn  Polish  and  then  seek  to  make 
contacts  with  the  Poles.'  He  asked  the  under-secretary  of  state  for  access 
to  the  official  archives  on  Poland  and  to  be  allowed  to  contact  Polish  in- 
dustrialists. Although  he  used  a  member  of  the  Catholic  Center  party  as 
a  front,  he  was  of  course  refused.  By  March  1916,  Weber  was  disgusted 
with  'the  whole  Berlin  atmosphere,  in  which  all  talented  people  are  in- 
capacitated by  the  resentful  stupiditv  which  prevails  in  the  Reich  offices.' " 

Weber  believed  that  the  First  World  War  was  a  result  of  a  constella- 


tion  of  economic  and  political  rivalries  of  nations.  In  so  far  as  elements 
of  'guilt'  might  enter  the  picture,  he  thought  that  Germany  was  guilty 
of  romantic  and  inefficient  management  of  her  affairs.  He  decried  the 
aspirations  of  the  war-party  as  idiotic  and,  from  the  very  beginning,  felt 
that  it  could  only  lead  to  disaster.  He  was  particularly  enraged  by 
Tirpitz's  naval  policy,  the  sinking  of  the  Lusitania,  and  the  reliance 
upon  the  weapon  of  the  submarine.  He  anticipated  America's  entrance 
into  the  war,  and  in  February  1916  stated  the  following  results  of  this 
development : 

First,  that  half  of  our  merchant  marine,  one-quarter  in  American  and  one- 
quarter  in  Italian  harbors  (!),  will  be  confiscated  and  used  against  us;  thus 
at  once  the  number  of  British  ships  will  be  increased — a  matter  which  these 
asses  [of  the  German  navy]  do  not  calculate.  Second,  we  shall  have  500,000 
American  sportsmen  as  volunteers,  brilliandy  equipped,  against  our  tired 
troops,  a  matter  which  these  asses  do  not  believe.  Third,  forty  billion  in  cash 
will  be  available  to  our  enemies.  Fourth,  three  more  years  of  war;  thus, 
certain  ruin.  Fifth,  Rumania,  Greece,  etc.  against  us.  And  all  this  in  order 
that  Herr  von  Tirpitz  may  show  what  he  can  do!  Never  has  anything  so 
stupid  been  thought  of.^^ 

In  October  1916,  Weber  spoke  in  a  political  meeting  of  progressive 
liberals  on  Germany  among  the  Great  Powers  of  Europe.  In  this  speech 
he  judged  policy  with  the  yardstick  of  international  result:  the  geographic 
position  of  Germany  in  the  midst  of  powerful  neighbors  should  make 
for  a  policy  of  sober  alliances  rather  than  a  policy  of  boastful  vanity  and 
conquest.  In  Weber's  view,  Russia  was  'the  main  threat.'  Accordingly,  he 
wished  an  understanding  with  England.  Events  in  Eastern  Europe 
brought  world-historical  decisions  to  the  fore,  compared  to  which  changes 
in  Western  Europe  appeared  trivial.  The  ultimate  cause  of  the  war  was 
Germany]s  late  development  as  an  industrial  power-state.  'And  why  have 
we  become  a  nation  organized  into  a  power  state.'''  he  asked. 

Not  for  vanity,  but  for  the  sake  of  our  responsibility  to  world  history.  The 
Danes,  Swiss,  Norwegians,  and  Dutch  will  not  be  held  responsible  by  future 
generations,  and  especially  not  by  our  own  descendants,  for  allowing,  without 
a  fight,  world  power  to  be  partitioned  between  the  decrees  of  Russian  officials 
on  the  one  hand  and  the  conventions  of  Anglo-Saxon  'society' — perhaps  with 
a  dash  of  Latin  raison  thrown  in — on  the  other.  The  division  of  world  power 
ultimately  means  the  control  of  the  nature  of  future  culture.  Future  genera- 
tions  will  hold  us  responsible  in  these  matters,  and  rightly  so,  for  we  are  a 
nation  of  seventy  and  not  seven  millions.^" 


On  3  November  1918,  the  sailors  at  Kiel  mutinied.  The  next  day, 
Weber  spoke  in  Munich  on  Germany's  reconstruction.  He  was  heckled 
by  revolutionary  intellectuals,  among  them  the  Russian  Bolshevist  Levien, 
as  well  as  by  veterans  in  the  audience.  Shortly  afterwards  a  revolutionary 
government  of  workers  and  soldiers'  councils  was  set  up. 

Max  Weber  was  against  those  professors  who  at  the  moment  of  col- 
lapse placed  the  blame  upon  the  German  home  front  by  rationalizing  the 
collapse  as  'a  stab  in  the  back,'  Yet  he  was  also  against  'the  revolution,' 
which  he  called  'this  bloody  carnival'  and  which  he  felt  could  only  secure 
worse  peace  terms  than  might  otherwise  have  been  possible.  At  the  same 
time,  he  realized  that  the  revolution  could  not  lead  to  lasting  socialistic 

His  wife  has  stated  that  his  sympathy  with  the  struggle  of  the  prole- 
tariat for  a  human  and  dignified  existence  had  for  decades  been  so  great 
that  he  often  pondered  whether  or  not  he  should  join  their  ranks  as  a 
party  member — but  always  with  negative  conclusions.  His  reasoning, 
according  to  his  wife,  'was  that  one  could  be  an  honest  socialist,  just 
like  a  Christian,  only  if  one  was  ready  to  share  the  way  of  life  of  the 
unpropertied,  and  in  any  case,  only  if  one  was  ready  to  forego  a  cultured 
existence  based  upon  their  work.  Since  his  disease,  this  was  impossible 
for  Weber.  His  scholarship  simply  depended  upon  capital  rent.  Further- 
more,  he  remained  personally  an  "individualist." ' 

He  accompanied  the  German  peace  delegation  to  Versailles  as  an  ex- 
pert. He  suggested  that  'the  designated  war  criminals,'  Ludendorff, 
Tirpitz,  Capelle,  Bethman,  should  voluntarily  offer  their  heads  to  the 
enemy;  only  then,  he  thought,  the  German  officer  corps  could  again  rise 
to  glory.  He  wrote  LudendorfT  a  letter  to  this  effect,  but  Ludendorfl 
curtly  refused.  Weber  then  arranged  to  meet  Ludendorfl  personally  and 
disputed  with  him  for  several  hours.  He  reproached  him  with  the  politi- 
cal mistakes  committed  by  the  general  staff  and  was  in  turn  reproached 
by  LudendorfT  for  the  sins  of  the  revolution  and  the  new  regime.  Weber 
asked  Ludendorff  to  offer  his  head  to  the  enemy. 

ludendorff:  How  can  you  expect  me  to  do  anything  of  the  sort? 

weber:  The  honor  of  the  nation  can  only  be  saved  if  you  give  yourself  up. 

ludendorff:  The  nation  can  go  jump  in  the  lake.  Such  ingratitude! 

weber:  Nevertheless,  you  ought  to  render  this  last  service. 

ludendorff:  I  hope  to  be  able  to  render  more  important  services  to  the  nation. 

weber:   In  that  case,  your  remark  is  not  meant  so  seriously.  For  the  rest, 


it  is  not  only  a  matter  of  the  German  people  but  a  matter  of  restoring 

the  honor  of  the  officer  corps  and  of  the  army. 
ludendorff:  Why  don't  you  go  and  see  Hindenburg?  After  all  he  was  the 

General  Field  Marshal. 
WEBER :  Hindenburg  is  seventy  years  of  age,  and  besides,  every  child  knows 

that  at  the  time  you  were  Number  One  in  Germany. 
ludendorff:  JThank  goodness. 

The  conversation  soon  drifted  into  politics,  LudendorfiF  blaming  Weber 
and  the  Frankjurter  Zeitung  for  the  'democracy.' 

weber:  Do  you  believe  that  I  think  this  swinish  condition  which  we  have 
at  present  is  democracy.? 

ludendorff:  If  you  talk  that  way,  maybe  we  can  reach  an  agreement. 

weber:  But  the  preceding  swinish  condition  was  not  a  monarchy  either. 

ludendorff:  Then,  what  do  you  mean  by  democracy? 
t  weber:  In  a  democracy  the  people  choose  a  leader  in  whom  they  trust.  Then 
i  the  chosen  leader  says,  'Now  shut  up  and  obey  me.'  People  and  party 

I  are  then  no  longer  free  to  interfere  in  his  business. 

ludendorff:  I  could  like  such  democracy. 

weber:  Later  the  people  can  sit  in  judgment.  If  the  leader  has  made  mistakes 
— ^to  the  gallows  with  him! 

Weber  was  profoundly  disappointed  in  Ludendorflf's  human  stature. 
'Perhaps,'  he  wrote,  'it  is  better  for  Germany  that  he  does  not  give 
himself  up.  His  personal  impression  would  be  unfavorable.  The  enemy 
would  again  find  that  the  sacrifices  of  a  war  which  put  this  type  out  of 
commission  were  worth  their  while.  I  now  understand  why  the  world 
defends  itself  against  the  attempts  of  men  like  him  to  place  their  heel 
upon  the  necks  of  others.  If  he  should  again  mingle  in  politics,  one  will 
have  to  fight  him  remorselessly.'  ^^ 

Max  Weber  thus  looked  upon  German  party  Ufe  with  disdain.  It  struck 
him  as  petty  and  as  suffocating  in  the  atmosphere  of  guild  squabbles.  In 
this  respect,  he  shared  the  attitude  of  Carl  Jentsch.^® 

Having  absorbed  the  Marxist  criticism  of  'bourgeois  democracy,' 
Weber  turned  away  from  conservatism,  Pan-Germanism,  and  monarchi- 
cal loyalties.  He  did  so  not  because  he  had  learned  to  believe  in  the  in- 
trinsic value  of  democratic  constitutional  government  as  a  'government 
of  the  people,  for  the  people,  and  by  the  people,'  but  because  he  believed 
constitutional  democracy  was  the  only  solution  for  Germany's  problems 
at  home  and  abroad.  In  April  1917,  he  wrote: 


I  would  not  fire  a  single  shot  and  I  would  not  buy  a  penny  war  bond  if 
this  war  were  anything  but  a  national  war;  if  it  concerned  the  form  of  the 
state  and  possibly  was  a  war  for  retaining  this  incapable  monarchy  and  this 
apolitical  bureaucracy,  I  don't  give  a  damn  for  the  form  of  the  State,  if  only 
politicians  were  to  rule  the  country  and  not  such  vain  simpletons  as  Wil- 
liam II  and  his  like.  .  .  For  me  constitutions  are  techniques  just  like  any 
other  machines.  I  would  be  just  as  ready  to  strike  against  parliament  and  for 
the  monarch  if  he  were  a  politician  or  if  he  gave  promise  of  becoming  one.^^ 

Weber  agitated  for  constitutional  democracy  because  he  hoped  the 
Reichstag  might  become  a  balancing  factor  against  the  overwhelming 
weight  of  Prussian,  and  therewith  German,  bureaucracy  and  its  mental- 
ity. A  parliamentary  competition  of  parties  should  bring  political  leaders 
of  perspective  and  of  passionate  will  to  power.  They  should  possess  the 
technical  know-how  required  for  subduing  the  bureaucracy  to  their  will. 
They  should  steer  the  bureaucracy,  which  for  Weber  made  sense  only  as 
a  technical  means  and  never  as  a  policy-making  and  politically  responsible 
agency.  In  the  best  case,  Weber  hoped  for  the  rise  of  charismatic  leaders, 
though  he  felt  the  drift  towards  ever-denser  and  indestructible  institu- 
tions in  modern  society  narrowed  the  opportunity  for  this  'purely  per- 
sonal element'  to  be  decisive  in  the  social  structure. 

It  is,  of  course,  quite  vain  to  speculate  whether  Weber  with  his 
Machiavellian  attitude  might  ever  have  turned  Nazi.  To  be  sure,  his 
philosophy  of  charisma — his  skepticism  and  his  pragmatic  view  of  demo- 
cratic sentiment — might  have  given  him  such  affinities.  But  his  human- 
ism, his  love  for  the  underdog,  his  hatred  of  sham  and  lies,  and  his  un- 
ceasing  campaign  against  racism  and  anti-Semitic  demagoguery  would 
have  made  him  at  least  as  sharp  a  'critic,'  if  not  a  sharper  one,  of  Hitler 
than  his  brother  Alfred  has  been.  "  ^~ 

Weber  was  far  from  following  Troeltsch,  who  felt  it  necessary  to 
speak  of  the  'most  basic  dispositions  and  volitional  tendencies'  ultimately 
underlying  the  social  institutions,  and  ideological  structures  of  history: 
'We  have  no  words  for  this  and,  in  this  case,  speak  of  races,  of  plastic, 
historical  forces,  or  of  primeval  impulses.'  ^^  Weber  was  far  from  this 
quest  for  a  metaphysical  anchorage  in  'blind  nature.'  One  may  sum  up 
Weber's  dispersed  and  repeated  disclaimers  of  racial  arguments  in  the 
words  of  John  Stuart  Mill:  'Of  all  vulgar  modes  of  escaping  from  the 
consideration  of  the  effect  of  social  and  moral  influences  on  the  human 
mind,  the  most  vulgar  is  that  of  attributing  the  diversities  of  conduct  and 
character  to  inherent  natural  differences.'^^ 


Weber,  one  might  say,  was  constitutionally  incapable  of  making  'the 
intellectual  sacrifice'  that  he  believed  all  'faith'  demands.  The  nightmare 
of  faith  represented  by  modern  fascism  would  hardly  have  intrigued  as 
passionate  a  servant  of  rational  social  science  as  Max  Weber.  The  basic 
style  of  thought  that  informs  his  work  is  Western  positivism,  a  heritage 
of  the  enlightenment.  The  basic  volitional  tendency  of  his  thought  is 
not,  with  the  Ranke  school,  artistically  to  construct  great  tableaux  of 
periods  each  of  which  is  'equally  near  to  God,'  but  to  fashion  intel- 
lectual tools  that  would  yield  hindsights  serviceable  to  foresights:  savoir 
pottr  prevoir,  prevoir  pour  pouvoir — this  impulse  of  Comte's  positive 
philosophy  was  basic  to  Weber's  outlook.  Even  though  he  stemmed  from 
the  'historical  school'  he  had  no  use  for  any  edifying  attitude  towards 
history  and  its  uniqueness.  By-passing  the  hostility  of  historians,  he  po- 
litely suggested  an  enquiry  into  'lawful  regularities'  as  an  'auxiliary' 
science  to  history.  He  then  proceeded  to  write  social  history  in  the  grand 

Urbanism,  legal  history,  economics,  music,  world  religions — there  is 
hardly  a  field  which  he  left  untouched.  He  thus  continued  the  tradition 
of  encyclopedic  scholarship  of  Wundt  and  Ratzel,  of  Roscher  and 

He  worked  through  masses  of  data  not  in  order  to  seek  in  the  con- 
templation of  man's  historical  estate  a  quietistic  refuge  for  a  homeless 
religious  need,  comparable  to  the  Rousseauistic  sentiment  of  nature,  but 
rather  in  order  to  snatch  from  comparative  enquiries  a  set  of  rules  which 
would  serve  him  in  his  search  for  political  orientation  in  the  contempo- 
rary world.  That  knowledge  is  somehow  power — that  is  the  impulse 
behind  this  quest  of  a  powerless  man  for  knowledge.  And  it  is  in  view 
of  this  political  concern  that  one  may  understand  his  intellectual  orienta- 

111.  Intellectual  Orientations 

The  intellectual  situation  in  Germany  during  Weber's  lifetime  was 
singularly  unfavorable  for  the  development  of  academic  sociology.  His- 
toriography was  largely  dominated  by  the  traditions  of  Hegel  and  Ranke, 
and  conservative  thinking  was  extremely  potent  in  checking  any  de- 
velopment of  theory  in  the  social  sciences.  This  was  especially  the  case  in 
economics.  For  in  this  field,  the  historical  school  discouraged  systematic 
theory  by  opposing  to  it  a  massive  treasure  of  historical  detail,  legal  fact, 
and  institutional  description. 

Liberalism,  on  the  other  hand,  had  been  developed  by  an  intelligentsia 
that  was  independent  o£~any  entrepreneurial  middle  class.  Compared 
with  the  Western  countries,  from  which  the  models  of  thought  for 
German  liberalism  had  been  derived,  everything  in  Germany  seemed 
topsy-turvy.  The  agrarian  Junkers  and  their  following  clamored  for 
Adam  Smith  and  free  trade,  that  is,  for  free  grain  exports  to  England 
rather  than  sales  to  the  emerging  industrial  cities  of  Germany.  The  liberal 
Friedrich  List  advocated  protective  tariffs.  Bismarck  and  the  German  \ 
princes,  rather  than  the  middle  classes,  had  geared  the  German  people  i 
into  a  national  state. 

The  liberal  academic  intelligentsia  had  scarcely  recovered  from  the 
shock  of  1848  and  the  reaction  to  it,  when  Lassalle  inaugurated  a  Socialist 
party  that  soon  turned  Marxist  and  attracted  a  brilliant  group  of  journal- 
ists and  organizers,  historians  and  sociologists.  These  men  took  pride 
in  their  detachment  from  national  loyalties.  And,  in  Germany,  Marxism 
was  able  to  establish  a  tradition  that  tried  to  draw  into  its  orbit  the  social 
and  political  history  of  all  ages,  the  interpretation  of  literature  and  phi- 
losophy, as  well  as  the  ♦development  of  social  and  economic  theory. 

In  1848  the  liberals  bad  been  afraid  of  the  bearded,  itinerant  journey- 
men; under  Bismarck  they  were  afraid  of  Bebel  and  Liebknecht.  Even 
in  1878  the  doctrinaire  liberal  Eugen  Richter  advised  his  followers  to 
vote  for  the  Conservative  rather  than  for  the  Social  Democratic  candi- 



date,  should  their  choice  be  Hmited  to  these  two.^  And  ten  years  later, 
when  Ferdinand  Tonnies  published  his  Gemeinschaft  und  Gesellschaft, 
a  work  rightly  considered  basic  for  modern  German  sociology,  he  made 
himself  a  hopeless  outsider  from  'respectable'  society.  For  sociology 
smacked  of  socialism.  Even  so  discerning  a  mind  as  Ludwig  Bamberger 
spoke  of  the  'internal  affinity  of  militarism  and  socialism.'  ^  Thus  the  in- 
tellectual traditions  of  Germany  were  channeled  into  conservative,  liberal, 
and  socialist  ways  of  thought. 

German  political  parties,  having  no  opportunity  to  wield  power,  re- 
mained doctrinaire  parties  of  principled  world  views,  each  rather  strictly 
oriented  towards  special  classes  and  status  groups.  Agrarian  conservatives 
were  in  coalition  with  Lutheran  orthodoxy,  urban  merchants  and  bankers 
with  liberal  professional  men,  socialist  wage  workers  with  a  low-browed 
intelligentsia  who  elaborated  high-browed  Marxism.  The  get-rich-quick 
atmosphere  of  the  new  industrialism,  the  intoxication  of  the  parvenu 
with  power  after  1870,  the  Philistinism  of  the  socially  arriving  burghers 
working  their  ways  into  dueling  corps,  baronial  estates,  and  the  officer 
corps — all  this  bred  political  apathy  and  fear  of  the  upthrust  of  labor. 
And  it  led  to  a  wide  political  accommodation  to  the  power  of  the 

Within  this  context  of  conflicting  classes,  parties,  and  intellectual  cur- 
rents. Max  Weber  worked  out  his  intellectual  orientations.  He  aimed 
at  the  comprehensiveness  of  a  common  ground.  And  he  did  so  in  spite 
of  the  intellectual  departmentalization  of  sharply  opposed  world  views. 
By  reflecting  upon  some  of  his  analytic  conceptions  and  broad  historical 
views,  we  may  be  able  to  indicate  how  conservative,  liberal,  and  socialist 
elements  of  thought  were  assimilated,  transformed,  and  integrated  into 
the  complex  pattern  of  his  work.  As  a  liberal,  fighting  against  both  con- 
servative and  Marxist  thought.  Max  Weber  opened  himself  to  certain  in- 
fluences from  each  of  his  opponents. 

i:  Marx  and  Weber 

Upon  taking  over  the  editorship  of  the  Archiv  Fitr  Sozialwissenschajt 
und  Sozialpolitif{,  Weber  proposed  systematically  to  devote  attention  to 
the  questions  the  Marxists  had  raised.  Much  of  Weber's  own  work  is  of 
course  informed  by  a  skilful  application  of  Marx's  historical  method. 
Weber,  however,  used  this  method  as  a  'heuristic  principle.'  As  a  view 
of  world  history,  Marxism  seemed  to  him  an  untenable  monocausal  the- 


ory  and  thus  prejudicial  to  an  adequate  reconstruction  of  social  and  his- 
torical connections.  He  felt  that  Marx  as  an  economist  had  made  the 
same  mistake  that,  during  Weber's  days,  anthropology  was  making: 
raising  a  segmental  perspective  to  paramount  importance  and  reducing 
the  multiplicity  of  causal  factors  to  a  single-factor  theorem. 

Weber  does  not  squarely  oppose  historical  materialism  as  altogether 
wrong;  he  merely  takes  exception  to  its  claim  of  establishing  a  single 
and  universal  causal  sequence.  Apart  from  whether  or  not  he  'under- 
stood' dialectical  thought  in  his  reduction  of  it  to  a  causal  proposition, 
the  approach  did  prove  eminently  fruitful. 

Part  of  Weber's  own  work  may  thus  be  seen  as  an  attempt  to  'round 
out'  Marx's  economic  materialism  by  a  political  and  mihtary  materialism. 
The  Weberian  approach  to  political  structures  closely  parallels  the  Marx- 
ian approach  to  economic  structures.  Marx  constructed  economic  periods 
and  located  major  economic  classes  in  them;  he  related  the  several  social 
and  political  factors  to  the  means  of  production.  In  political  matters, 
Weber  looks  for  the  disposition  over  weapons  and  over  means  of  admin- 

Feudalism,  for  example,  is  characterized  by  Weber  in  terms  of  pri- 
vate property  of  the  means  of  military  violence  (self-equipped  armies) 
and  in  the  corporate  appropriation  of  the  means  of  administration.  The 
'ruler'  could  not  monopolize  administration  and  warfare  because  he  had 
to  delegate  the  implements  required  for  such  a  monopoly  to  the  several 
privileged  groupings.  In  time,  these  latter  become  'owners'  in  their  own 
right.  This  attention  to  the  control  of  the  material  means  of  political 
power  is  as  crucial  for  grasping  the  types  of  political  structure  as  is 
attention  to  the  means  of  production  in  the  case  of  Marx  for  grasping 
economic  structures.* 

Whereas  Marx  is  less  careful  in  distinguishing  between  economic 
power  and  political  power,  Weber,  as  a  liberal,  is  eager  to  keep  these 
spheres  clearly  distinct.  Thus,  his  criticism  of  most  Marxist  contributions 
is  that  they  fail  soberly  to  distinguish  between  what  is  strictly  'economic,' 
what  is  'economically  determined,'  and  what  is  merely  'economically 
relevant.'  Pilgrimages  to  Rome  are  certainly  relevant  for  the  money 
market,  but  that  does  not  make  them  economic  enterprises.  The  im- 
port of  religious  or  of  poHtical  ideas  for  economic  institutions  does  not 

*  See  in  this  volume:  'Politics  as  a  Vocation,'  'Bureaucracy,'  and  'The  Social  Psychology 
of  World  Religions.' 


thereby  transform  these  ideas  into  economic  factors:  the  question  con- 
cerns their  'economic  relevance.' 

Having  focused  upon  the  struggle  for  the  means  of  poHtical  rule, 
Weber  sees  European  political  history  since  the  feudal  period'  as  an  in- 
tricate parade  of  rulers,  each  attempting  to  appropriate  the  financial  and 
military  means  that  in  feudal  society  were  relatively  dispersed.  In  fact, 
Weber  formulates  the  very  concept  of  the  'state'  in  terms  of  a  'monopoly' 
of  the  use  of  legitimate  force  over  a  given  territory.  The  territorial  aspect 
enters  into  the  conception  of  the  state  in  that  Weber  distinguishes  coastal 
and  inland  states,  great  river  states,  and  states  of  the  plains.  The  geo- 
graphical factor  also  seems  to  have  a  dispositional  bearing  in  that  the 
coastal,  and  hence  maritime,  state  offers  opportunities  for  city  democracy, 
overseas  empire;  whereas  the  state  of  the  plains — for  example,  Russia  and 
the  United  States — seems  to  favor  schematization  and  bureaucracy,  al- 
though of  course  this  tendency  is  not  without  exceptions. 

With  Marx,  Weber  shares  an  attempt  to  bring  'ideological'  phenomena 
into  some  correlation  with  the  'material'  interests  of  the  economic  and 
political  orders.  Weber  has  a  keen  eye  for  'rationalizations,'  that  is,  for 
'fictitious  superstructures,'  and  for  incongruities  between  the  verbal  as- 
sertion and  the  actual  intention.  He  fought  imperial  and  bureaucratic 
bombast,  and  especially  the  phrases  of  the  Pan-Germanists  and/or  revo- 
lutionary 'literati,'  with  a  wrath  comparable  to  Marx's  campaign  against 
Victorian  cant. 

The  debunking  technique  by  which  ideological  assertions  are  revealed 
as  false  cloaks  for  less  respectable  interests  is  obvious  in  Weber's  attack 
upon  the  revolutionary  left  of  1918.  Weber  expressly  stated  at  this  time 
that  Marxism  is  not  a  carriage,  which  one  may  arrest  at  will:  he  wished 
to  extend  the  debunking  of  ideologies  to  include  the  'proletarian  interest,' 
and  he  attempted  to  narrow  down  this  interest  to  the  interests  of  the 
^literati,  politicians,  and  revolutionary  guardsmen  in  'the  spoils  of  vic- 
tory.' His  debunking  of  socialist  aspirations  is  also  obvious  in  his  reflec- 
tions on  imperialism.  Here  he  obviously  accepts  national  units  as  histori- 
cal ultimates  that  can  never  be  integrated  into  more  comprehensive  and 
harmonious  wholes.  At  best  there  will  be  strong  socialist  nation-states 
energetically  exploiting  weaker  states.  The  concept  of  the  nation  and  of 
national  interest  is  thus  the  limit  of  Weber's  political  outlook  and  at  the 
same  time  constitutes  his  ultimate  value.  Yet  it  is  characteristic  of  his 
restless  analysis  that  he  breaks  down  'national  sentiment'  into  a  com- 
posite of  various  communal  sentiments  and  attitudes. 


In  addition  to  this  attention  to  'interests'  and  'ideologies,'  Weber's 
sociology  is  related  to  Marx's  thought  in  the  common  attempt  to  grasp 
the  interrelations  on  all  institutional  orders  making  up  a  social  structure. 
In  Weber's  work,  military  and  religious,  political  and  juridical  institu- 
tional systems  are  functionally  related  to  the  economic  order  in  a  variety 
of  ways.  Yet,  the  political  judgments  and  evaluations  involved  differ 
entirely  from  those  of  Marx.  For  Marx,  the  modern  economy  is  basically 
irrational;  this  irrationality  of  capitalism  results  from  a  contradiction 
between  the  rational  technological  advances  of  the  productive  forces 
and  the  fetters  of  private  property,  private  profit,  and  unmanaged  market 
competition.  The  system  is  characterized  by  an  'anarchy  of  production.'. 

For  Weber,  on  the  other  hand,  modern  capitali^mis  not  'irrational'; 
indeed,  its  institutions  appear  to  him  as  the  very  embodiment  of  ration- 
ality. As  a  type  of  bureaucracy,  the  large  corporation  is  rivaled  only  by 
the  state  bureaucracy  in  promoting  rational  efficiency,  continuity  of  oper- 
ation, speed,  precision,  and  calculation  of  results.  And  all  this  goes  on 
within  institutions  that  are  rationally  managed,  and  in  which  combined 
and  specialized  functions  occupy  the  center  of  attention.  The  whole 
structure  is  dynamic,  and  by  its  anonymity  compels  modern  man  to  be- 
come a  specialized  expert,  a  'professional'  man  qualified  for  the  accom- 
plishment of  a  special  career  within  pre-scheduled  channels.  Man  is  thus 
prepared  for  his  absorption  in  the  clattering  process  of  the  bureaucratic 

The  concept  of  rational  bureaucracy  is  played  off  against  the  Marxist 
concept  of  the  class  struggle.  As  is  the  case  with  'economic  materialism,' 
so  with  'class  struggle':  Weber  does  not  deny  class  struggles  and  their 
part  in  history,  but  he  does  not  see  them  as  the  central  dynamic.  Nor 
does  he  deny  the  possibility  of  a  socialization  of  the  means  of  produc- 
tion. He  merely  relegates  this  demand  to  a  far  distant  future  and  dis- 
putes any  hope  of  'socialism  for  our  time.'  He  does  not  see  anything 
attractive  in  socialism.  In  his  eyes,  socialism  would  merely  complete  in 
the  economic  order  what  had  already  happened  in  the  sphere  of  political 
means.  The  feudal  estates  had  been  expropriated  of  their  political  means 
and  had  been  displaced  by  the  salaried  officialdom  of  the  modern  bureau- 
cratic state.  The  state  had  'nationalized'  the  possession  of  arms  and  of  i/ 
administrative  means.  Socialization  of  the  means  of  production  would 
merely  subject  an  as  yet  relatively  autonomous  economic  life  to  the 
bureaucratic  management  of  the  state.  The  state  would  indeed  become  7' 
total,  and  Weber,  hating  bureaucracy  as  a  shackle  upon  the  liberal  indi- 


vidual,  felt  that  socialism  would  thus  lead  to  a  further  serfdom.  Tor  the 
time  being,'  he  wrote,  'the  dictatorship  of  the  official  and  not  that  of 
the  worker  is  on  the  march.'  ^ 

Weber  thus  saw  himself  as  holding  paradoxical  opinions.  He  could 
not  but  recognize  the  inevitability  of  bureaucratic  management  in  public 
administration,  in  large  capitalist  enterprises,  and  in  politically  efficient 
party  machines.  During  the  war  he  personally  scolded  the  stupidity  of 
the  Berlin  bureaucrats,  yet  in  his  classic  account  of  bureaucracy  he  is 
very  far  from  John  Stuart  Mill's  verdict  against  'pedantocracy.'  On  the 
contrary,  for  Weber  nothing  is  more  efficient  and  more  precise  than 
bureaucratic  management.  Again  in  his  pride  in  bureaucracy,  'in  spite 
of  all,'  one  may  discern  an  attitude  comparable  to  Marx's  admiration  for 
the  achievements  of  bourgeois  capitalism  in  wiping  out  feudal  survivals, 
the  'idiocy'  of  rural  life,  and  various  spooks  of  the  mind. 

Marx's  emphasis  upon  the  wage  worker  as  being  'separated'  from  the 
means  of  production  becomes,  in  Weber's  perspective,  merely  one  special 
case  of  a  universal  trend.  The  modern  soldier  is  equally  'separated'  from 
the  means  of  violence;  the  scientist  from  the  means  of  enquiry,  and  the 
civil  servant  from  the  means  of  administration.  Weber  thus  tries  to 
relativize  Marx's  work  by  placing  it  into  a  more  generalized  context  and 
showing  that  Marx's  conclusions  rest  upon  observations  drawn  from  a 
dramatized  'special  case,'  which  is  better  seen  as  one  case  in  a  broad  series 
of  similar  cases.  The  series  as  a  whole  exemplifies  the  comprehensive 
underlying  trend  of  bureaucratization.  Socialist  class  struggles  are  merely 
a  vehicle  implementing  this  trend. 

Weber  thus  identifies  bureaucracy  with  rationality,  and  the  process 
of  rationalization  with  mechanism,  depersonalization,  and  oppressive 
routine.  Rationality,  in  this  context,  is  seen  as  adverse  to  personal  free- 
dom. Accordingly,  Weber  is  a  nostalgic  liberal,  feeling  himself  on  the 
defensive.  He  deplores  the  type  of  man  that  the  mechanization  and  the 
routine  of  bureaucracy  selects  and  forms.  The  narrowed  professional, 
publicly  certified  and  examined,  and  ready  for  tenure  and  career.  His 
craving  for  security  is  balanced  by  his  moderate  ambitions  and  he  is  re- 
warded by  the  honor  of  official  status.  This  type  of  man  Weber  deplored 
as  a  petty  routine  creature,  lacking  in  heroism,  human  spontaneity,  and 
inventiveness :  'The  Puritan  willed  to  be  the  vocational  man  that  we  have 
to  be.' 


2:  Bureaucracy  and  Charisma:  A  Philosophy  of  History 

The  principle  of  rationalization  is  the  most  general  element  in  Weber's 
philosophy  of  historyJFor  the  rise  and  fall  of  institutional  structures,  the 
ups  and  downs  of  classes,  parties,  and  rulers  implement  the  general 
drift  of  secular  rationalization.  In  thinking  of  the  change  of  human  atti- 
tudes and  mentalities  that  this  process  occasions,  Weber  liked  to  quote 
Friedrich  Schiller's  phrase,  the  'disenchantment  of  the  world.'  The  extent 
and  direction  of  'rationalization'  is  thus  measured  negatively  in  terms 
of  the  degree  to  which  magical  elements  of  thought  are  displaced,  or 
positively  by  the  extent  to  which  ideas  gain  in  systematic  coherence  and 
naturalistic  consistency. 

The  urge  towards  such  a  comprehensive  and  meaningful  interpreta- 
tion of  the  universe  is  ascribed  to  groups  of  intellectuals,  to  religious 
prophets  and  teachers,  to  sages  and  philosophers,  to  jurists  and  experi- 
mental artists,  and  finally,  to  the  empirical  scientist.  'Rationalization,' 
socially  and  historically  differentiated,  thus  comes  to  have  a  variety  of 
meanings.  In  this  connection  Weber  makes  a  masterful  contribution  to 
what  has  come  to  be  known  as  the  ^sociology  of  knowledge.'  * 

Weber's  view  of  'disenchantment'  embodies  an  element  of  liberalism 
and  of  the  enlightenment  philosophy  that  construed  man's  history  as  a 
unilinear  'progress'  towards  moral  perfection  (sublimation),  or  towards 
cumulative  technological  rationalization.  Yet  his  skeptical  aversion  to  any 
'pHiIos6phic~af~eIement  in  empirical  science  precluded  any  explicit  con- 
structions of  historical  time  in  terms  of  'cycles'  or  'unilinear'  evolution. 
'Thus  far  the  continuum  of  European  culture  development  has  known 
neither  completed  cyclical  movements  nor  an  unambiguously  oriented 
"unilinear  development." '  *  We  nevertheless  feel  justified  in  holding 
that  a  unilinear  construction  is  clearly  implied  in  Weber's  idea  of  the 
bureaucratic  trend.  Even  so  'inward'  and  apparently  subjective  an  area 
of  experience  as  that  of  music  lends  itself  to  a  sociological  treatment 
under  Weber's  concept  of  'rationalization.'  The  fixation  of  clang  pat- 
terns, by  a  more  concise  notation  and  the  establishment  of  the  well- 
tempered  scale;  'harmonious'  tonal  music  and  the  standardization  of  the 
quartet  of  wood  winds  and  string  instruments  as  the  core  of  the  sym- 
phony orchestra.  These  are  seen   as  progressive  'rationalizations.'  The 

*  We  have  included  one  chapter  from  Weber's  study  of  China  for  the  sake  of  acquaint- 
ing the  reader  with  this  aspect  of  his  work. 



musical  systems  of  Asia,  of  preliterate  Indian  tribes,  of  Antiquity,  and 
of  the  Middle  East  are  compared  in  regard  to  their  scope  and  degree 
of  'rationalization,'  The  same  comparative  focus  is  of  course  used  in  the 
account  of  religious  systems,  as  may  be  seen  in  the  typological  sketch 
contained  in  'The  Social  Psychology  of  World  Religions.' 

This  process  of  rationalization  is  punctured,  however,  by  certain  dis- 
continuities of  history.  Hardened  institutional  fabrics  may  thus  disinte- 
grate and  routine  forms  of  life  prove  insufficient  for  mastering  a  growing 
state  of  tension,  stress,  or  suffering.  It  is  in  such  crises  that  Weber  intro- 
duces a  balancing  conception  for  bureaucracy:  the  concept  of  'charisma.' 

Weber  borrowed  this  concept  from  Rudolf  Sohm,  the  Strassburg 
church  historian  and  jurist.  Charisma,  meaning  literally  'gift  of  grace,' 
is  used  by  Weber  to  characterize  self-appointed  leaders  who  are  fol- 
lowed by  those  who  are  in  distress  and  who  need  to  follow  the  leader 
because  they  believe  him  to  be  extraordmarily  qualified.  The  founders 
of  world  religions  and  the  prophets  as  well  as  military  and  political 
heroes  are  the  archetypes  of  the  charismatic  leader.  Miracles  and  revela- 
tions, heroic  feats  of  valor  and  baffling  success  are  characteristic  marks  of 
their  stature.  Failure  is  their  ruin. 

Although  Weber  is  aware  of  the  fact  that  social  dynamics  result  from 
many  social  forces,  he  nevertheless  places  great  emphasis  upon  the  rise 
of  charismatic  leaders.  Their  movements  are  enthusiastic,  and  in  such 
extraordinary  enthusiasms  class  and  status  barriers  sometimes  give  way 
to  fraternization  and  exuberant  community  sentiments.^  Charismatic 
heroes  and  prophets  are  thus  viewed  as  truly  revolutionary  forces  in 

Bureaucracy  and  other  institutions,  especially  those  of  the  household, 
/are  seen  as  routines  of  workaday  life;  charisma  is  opposed  to  all  institu- 
tional routines,  those  of  tradition  and  those  subject  to  rational  manage- 
ment. This  holds  for  the  economic  order:  Weber  characterizes  conquista- 
dores  and  robber  barons  as  charismatic  figures.  When  used  in  a  strictly 
technical  manner,  the  concept  of  charisma  is  free  of  all  evaluations.  Stefan 
George  as  well  as  Jeremiah,  Napoleon  as  well  as  Jesus  Christ,  a  raving 
berserk  warrior  of  Arabia  as  well  as  the  founder  of  Mormonism — all  these 
are  typified  as  charismatic  leaders,  for  they  have  in  common  the  fact  that 
</  people  obey  them  because  of  faith  in  their  personally  extraordinary  quali- 

A  genuinely  charismatic  situation  is  direct  and  inter-personal.  In  the 
contrast  of  the  everyday  life  of  institutions  with  the  personalized  and 


spontaneous  nature  of  charismatic  leadership,  one  may  readily  discern 
the  heritage  of  liberalism  that  has  always  confronted  similar  dichotomies: 
mass  versus  personality,  the  'routine'  versus  the  'creative'  entrepreneur,  the 
conventions  of  ordinary  people  versus  the  inner  freedom  of  the  pioneer- 
ing and  exceptional  man,  institutional  rules  versus  the  spontaneous  indi- 
vidual, the  drudgery  and  boredom  of  ordinary  existence  versus  the 
imaginative  flight  of  the  genius.  In  spite  of  the  careful  nominalism  of 
his  method,  Weber's  conception  of  the  charismatic  leader  is  a  continua- 
tion of  a  'philosophy  of  history'  which,  after  Carlyle's  Heroes  and  Hero 
Worship,  influenced  a  great  deal  of  nineteenth-century  history  writing. 
In  such  an  emphasis,  the  monumentalized  individual  becomes  the  sover- 
eign of  history. 

Weber's  conception  of  the  charismatic  leader  is  in  continuity  with  the 
concept  of  'genius'  as  it  was  applied  since  the  Renaissance  to  artistic  and 
intellectual  leaders.  Within  the  confines  of  'moral'  history,  W.  E.  H. 
Lecky  broadened  the  conception  in  such  a  way  as  to  apply  it  to  leaders 
of  human  conduct  rather  than  merely  to  creators  of  symbols.  Not  only 
men^of  ideasJbuLJdeal  men  thus  came  into  focus,  as  the  following  pas- 
sage indicatGfrfp,  v- 

There  arise  from  time  to  time  men  who  bear  to  the  moral  condition  of 
their  age  much  the  same  relations  as  men  of  genius  bear  to  its  intellectual 
condition.  They  anticipate  the  moral  standard  di  a  later  age,  cast  abroad  con- 
ceptions of  disinterested  virtue,  of  philanthropy,  or  of  self-denial  that  seem 
to  have  no  relation  to  the  spirit  of  their  time,  inculcate  duties  and  suggest 
motives  of  action  that  appear  to  most  men  altogether  chimericaU  Yet  the 
magnetism  of  their  perfections  tells  powerfully  upon  their  contemporaries. 
An  enthusiasm  is  kindled,  a  group  of  adherents  is  formed,  and  many  are 
emancipated  from  the  moral  condition  of  their  age.  Yet  the  full  effects  of  such 
a  movement  are  but  transient.  The  first  enthusiasm  dies  away,  surrounding 
circumstances  resume  their  ascendency,  the  pure  faith  is  materialised,  en- 
crusted with  conceptions  that  are  alien  to  its  nature,  dislocated,  and  distorted, 
till  its  first  features  have  almost  disappeared.  The  moral  teaching,  being  un- 
suited  to  the  time,  becomes  inoperative  until  its  appropriate  civilisation  has 
dawned;  or  at  most  it  faintly  and  imperfectly  filters  through  an  accumulation 
of  dogmas,  and  thus  accelerates  in  some  measure  the  arrival  of  the  condition 
it  requires. ''^ 

It  is  clear  that  Lecky  was  interested  in  the  genius  as  an  extraordinary 
man  who  transcends  the  bounds  of  everyday  routines;  and  in  this,  his 


^  Statement  foreshadows  one  of  the  key  theories  of  Weber:  the  routiniza- 
tion  of  charisma. 
I  Like  Lecky,  Weber  sees  the  genuine  charismatic  situation  quickly  give 
way  to  incipient  institutions,  which  emerge  from  the  coohng  off  of  ex- 
traordinary states  of  devotion  and  fervor.  As  the  original  doctrines  are 
democratized,  they  are  intellectually  adjusted  to  the  needs  of  that  stratum 
^which  becomes  the  primary  carrier  of  the  leader's  message.  If  these  ideas 
are  not  adaptable  in  this  way,  then,  regardless  of  their  intrinsic  merit, 
either  their  message  will  fail  to  influence  the  conduct  of  everyday  life 
or  those  whom  they  do  influence  will  remain  enclosed  in  a  special  way 
of  life  and  alien  to  the  larger  social  body.  The  religions  of  India,  accord- 
ing to  Weber,  have  very  often  ended  up  as  the  doctrines  of  such  aristoc- 
racies of  salvation.* 

Emphasis  upon  the  'sovereignty  of  the  charismatic  man'  does  not 
minimize  the  mechanics  of  institutions;  on  the  contrary,  by  tracing  out 
the  routinization  of  charisma,  Weber  is  able  to  assign  a  heavy  causal 
weight  to  institutional  routines.  Thus  he  retains  a  social  determinism 
by  emphasizing  charisma's  routinization.  His  handling  of  this  problem 
testifies  to  his  constant  endeavor  to  maintain  a  causal  pluralism  and  to 
bring  the  economic  order  into  the  balance. 

In  general,  Weber's  construction  of  historical  dynamics  in  terms  of 
charisma  and  routinization  is  an  attempt  to  answer  the  paradox  of 
unintended  consequences.  For  the  charisma  of  the  first  hour  may  incite 
the  followers  of  a  warrior  hero  or  prophet  to  forsake  expediency  for  ulti- 
mate values.  But  during  the  routinization  of  charisma,  the  material  in- 
terests of  an  increased  following  are  the  compelling  factor, 
fc-^  A  charismatic  movement  may  be  routinized  into  traditionalism  or  into 
\  bureaucratization.  Which  course  is  taken  does  not  depend  primarily 
upon  the  subjective  intentions  of  the  followers  or  of  the  leader;  it  is 

y  .  dependent  upon  the  institutional  framework  of  the  movement,  and  espe- 
?  cially  upon  the  economic  order.  'The  routinization  of  charisma,  in  quite 
essential  respects,  is  identical  with  adjustment  to  the  conditions  of  the 
economy,  that  is,  to  the  continuously  effective  routines  of  workaday  life. 
In  this,  the  economy  leads  and  is  not  led.'  ^  Just  as  in  this  particular  con- 
text a  leading  role  is  given  to  the  economy,  so  does  the  very  title  of  his 
key  work.  Economics  and  Society,  bespeak  an  appreciation  of  the  de- 
termining weight  of  the  economic  bases. 

*  See  chapter  xi,  'The  Social   Psychology  of  World   Religions.' 


The  'philosophical'  element  in  Weber's  construction  of  history  is  this  \ 
antinomic  balance  of  charismatic  movements  (leaders  and  ideas)  with  A 
rational  routinization  (enduring  institutions  and  material  interests).  | 
Man's  spontaneity  and  freedom  are  placed  on  the  side  of  heroic  enthusi-  I 
asm,  and  thus  there  is  an  aristocratic  emphasis  upon  elites  ('virtuosos'!).  / 
This  emphasis  is  intimately  associated  with  Weber's  attitude  towards"^ 
modern  democracy,  which  we  have  already  indicated. 

Yet  Weber  sees  in  the  concept  of  'personality'  a  much-abused  notion 
referring  to  a  profoundly  irrational  center  of  creativity,  a  center  before 
which  analytical  inquiry  comes  to  a  halt.  And  he  combats  this  poeticized 
and  romantic  element."  For  his  conceptual  nominalism  and  his  prag- 
matic outlook  are  opposed  to  all  reification  of  'unanalyzed'  processes.  The 
ultimate  unit  of  analysis  for  him  is  the  understandable  motivations  of  "^ 
the  single  individual.  His  concepts  are  analytical  tools  with  which  he»-^ 
reconstructs  various  mechanisms.  They  are  not  descriptive  categories,  with 
which  one  tries  to  'taste'  the  color  and  grasp  the  surface  image  of  the 
'spirit  of  the  times.'  They  are  not  concepts  that  contemplate  the  supposed 
substances  of  great  men  and  epochs.  In  fact,  despite  Weber's  emphasis 
on  charisma,  he  is  not  likely  to  focus  on  'the  great  figures  of  history.' 
Napoleon,  Calvin  and  Cromwell,  Washington  and  Lincoln  appear  in  his 
texts  only  in  passing.  He  tries  to  grasp  what  is  retained  of  their  work  x/^ 
in  the  institutional  orders  and  continuities  of  history.  Not  Julius  Caesar, 
but  Caesarism;  not  Calvin,  but  Calvinism  is  Weber's  concern.  In  order 
to  understand  this  fully,  we  have  to  understand  his  conceptual  tools: 
the  constructed  type,  the  typological  series,  the  comparative  method.  j[ 

3:  Methods  of  Social  Science  ,      '^^ii 

Weber's  methodological  reflections  are  clearly  indebted  to  the  philos-  , 
ophy  of  the  enlightenment.  His  point  of  departure  and  the  ultimate  unit  ( 
of  his  analysis  is  the  individual  person: 

Interpretative  sociology  considers  the  individual  [Einzelindtviduum]  and 
his  action  as  the  basic  unit,  as  its  'atom' — if  the  disputable  comparison  for 
once  may  be  permitted.  In  this  approach,  the  individual  is  also  the  upper 
limit  and  the  sole  carrier  of  meaningful  conduct.  .  .  In  general,  for  sociology, 
such  concepts  as  'state,'  'association,'  'feudalism,'  and  the  like,  designate 
certain  categories  of  human  interaction.  Hence  it  is  the  task  of  sociology  to 
reduce  these  concepts  to  'understandable'  action,  that  is,  without  exception, 
to  the  actions  of  participating  individual  men.^" 



The  'Robinson-Crusoe  approach'  of  the  classical  economists  and  the 
rationalist  philosophers  of  the  contract  is  echoed  in  this  emphasis  upon 
the  individual.  But  within  Weber's  thought  such  emphasis  stands  in 
opposition  to  the  tradition  of  Hegel  and  Ranke. 

This  latter  tradition  attempts  to  'interpret'  the  individual  person,  insti- 
tution, act,  or  style  of  work  by  seeing  it  as  a  'document,'  'manifestation,' 
or  an  'expression'  of  a  larger  morphological  unit  that  underlies  particular 
data.  'Interpretation'  thus  consists  in  understanding  the  union  of  the 
more  comprehensive  totality  with  its  part.  The  aspect  partakes  of  the 
quality  of  the  whole.  Thus  Sombart,  writing  a  book  on  The  Jews  and 
Economic  Life,  tries  to  show  the  contribution  and  the  paramount  signifi- 
cance of  Jewry  for  the  rise  and  workings  of  modern  capitalism  by  'under- 
standing' Jewry  and  capitalism  as  partaking  of  the  same  'spirit.'  This 
mode  of  'understanding'  the  particular  by  seeing  it  as  a  document  of  an 
underlying  whole  is  rooted  in  German  romantic  and  conservative  thought 
— a  style  that  was  elaborated  in  great  detail  and  with  surprising  subtlety 
and  fruitfulness  by  Wilhelm  Dilthey. 

Max  Weber  incorporated  the  problem  of  understanding  in  his  socio- 
logical approach,  which,  as  he  was  prone  to  emphasize,  was  one  type  of 
sociology  among  other  possibilities.  He  therefore  called  his  perspective 
'interpretative'  or  'understanding'  sociology.  It  is  characteristic  of  his 
rational  and  positivist  position  that  he  transformed  the  concept  of  under- 
standing. 'Understanding'  remained  for  him,  however,  a  unique  ap- 
proach of  the  moral  or  cultural  sciences,  which  deals  with  man  rather 
than  with  other  animals  or  with  lifeless  nature.  Man  can  'understand' 
or  attempt  to  'understand'  his  own  intentions  through  introspection,  and 
he  may  interpret  the  motives  of  other  men's  conduct  in  terms  of  their 
professed  or  ascribed  intentions. 

Weber  distinguishes  different  'types'  of  motivated  actions.  Character- 
istically he  rated  as  the  most  'understandable'  type  those  actions  which 
are  in  the  nature  of  rational  expediencies,  and  of  which  the  conduct  of 
the  'economic  man'  is  a  prime  example. 

Less  'rational'  actions  are  typed  by  Weber  in  terms  of  the  pursuit  of 
'absolute  ends,'  as  flowing  from  affectual  sentiments,  or  as  'traditional.' 
Since  absolute  ends  are  to  be  taken  as  'given'  data  by  the  sociologist,  an 
action  may  be  rational  with  reference  to  the  means  employed,  but  'irra- 
tional' with  respect  to  the  ends  pursued.  'Affectual'  action,  which  flows 
purely  from  sentiment,  is  a  less  rational  type  of  conduct.  And  finally,  ap- 
proaching the  'instinctual'  level,  there  is  'traditional'  conduct:  unreflective 


and  habitual,  this  type  is  sanctified  because  it  'has  always  been  done'  and 
is  therefore  deemed  appropriate.  These  types  of  'actions'  are  construed 
operationally  in  terms  of  a  scale  of  rationality  and  irrationality.  A  typo- 
logical device  rather  than  a  'psychology'  of  motivations  is  thus  described. 
This  nominalist  approach,  with  its  emphasis  upon  the  rational  relations 
of  ends  and  means  as  the  most  'understandable'  type  of  conduct,  distin- 
guishes Weber's  work  from  conservative  thought  and  its  documentary 
'understanding'  by  assimilating  the  singularity  of  an  object  into  a  spirit- 
ualized whole.  Yet,  by  emphasizing  the  understandability  of  human 
conduct,  as  opposed  to  the  mere  causal  explanation  of  'social  facts'  as  in 
natural  science,  Weber  draws  the  line  between  his  interpretative  sociology 
and  the  'physique  sociale'  in  the  tradition  of  Condorcet,  which  Comte 
called  sociologie^^  and  Durkheim  worked  out  in  such  an  eminent  man- 
ner. It  has  correctly  been  observed  that  the  basic  types  of  social  structure 
that  Weber  uses — 'society,'  'association,'  and  'community' — correspond 
closely  with  his  'types  of  action' — the  'rationally  expedient,'  the  'affective,' 
and  the  'traditionalist.'  ^^ 

Were  one  to  accept  Weber's  methodological  reflections  on  his  own 
work  at  their  face  value,  one  would  not  find  a  systematic  justification 
for  his  analysis  of  such  phenomena  as  stratification  or  capitalism.  Taken 
literally,  the  'method  of  understanding'  would  hardly  allow  for  Weber's 
use  of  structural  explanations;  for  this  type  of  explanation  attempts  to 
account  for  the  motivation  of  systems  of  action  by  their  functions  as  go- 
ing concerns  rather  than  by  the  subjective  intentions  of  the  individuals 
who  act  them  out. 

According  to  Weber's  method  of  understanding,  we  should  expect  him 
to  adhere  to  a  subjective  theory  of  stratification,  but  he  does  not 
do  so.  Similarly,  one  may  point  to  Weber's  refutation  of  a  widespread 
German  stereotype  of  America  as  a  nation  of  'atomized  individuals':  'In 
the  past  and  up  to  the  very  present,  it  has  been  a  characteristic  precisely 
of  the  specifically  American  democracy  that  it  did  not  constitute  a  form- 
less sand  heap  of  individuals  but  rather  a  buzzing  complex  of  strictly 
exclusive,  yet  voluntary,  associations.'  *  Again,  Weber  sees  the  drift 
towards  Athenian  democracy  as  determined  by  a  change  in  military  or- 
ganization: Democracy  emerged  when  the  older  army  of  Hoplites  gave 
way  to  Navalism.  Similar  structural  explanations  are  displayed  in  the 
manner  in  which  he  links  the  spread  of  bureaucracies  with  the  task  of 

*  See  pp.  307  ff.,  this  volume. 


administering  large  inland  empires,  such  as  Rome  and  China,  Russia 
and  the  United  States. 

In  using  the  structural  principle  of  explanation,  Weber  comes  quite 
close  to  the  analytical  procedure  of  Marxist  thought,  which,  in  a  'de- 
spiritualized'  way,  makes  use  of  the  originally  Hegelian  and  conservative 
way  of  thinking. 

In  his  methodological  emphasis  upon  understanding-  the  individual  as 
the  ultimate  unit  of  explanation,  Weber  is  polemical  against  this  organi- 
cist  thought  of  conservatism  as  well  as  the  Marxist  use  of  objective  mean- 
ings of  social  action  irrespective  of  the  awareness  of  the  actor. 

Like  Hegel  and  Adam  Smith,  Marx  ascribed  meanings  to  the  process 
of  social  interactions.  Adam  Smith's  'unseen  hand'  and  Hegel's  'ruse  of 
the  idea'  appear  in  Marx's  system  as  an  objective  logic  of  dynamic  insti- 
tutions that  work  themselves  out  behind  the  backs  of  the  actors.  In  so  far 
as  men  know  not  what  they  do,  they  realize  the  blind  forces  of  society. 
Although  these  forces  are  the  work  of  men,  they  simply  remain,  in 
Veblen's  term,  'opaque.'  Thus  Marx  measures  the  subjective  notions  of 
the  actors  of  the  system  against  the  objective  meaning  as  revealed  by 
scientific  study.  And  in  the  comparison  and  typical  incongruity  between 
what  men  think  they  do  and  the  objective  social  functions  of  their  acts, 
Marx  locates  the  ideological  nature  of  the  subject's  'false  consciousness.' 

In  his  writings  on  method,  Weber  rejects  the  assumption  of  any  'ob- 
jective meaning.'  He  wished  to  restrict  the  understanding  and  interpre- 
tation of  meaning  to  the  subjective  intentions  of  the  actor.  Yet,  in  his 
actual  work,  he  is  no  less  aware  than  is  Marx  of  the  paradoxical  fact 
that  the  results  of  interactions  are  by  no  means  always  identical  with 
what  the  actor  intended  to  do.  Thus  the  Purit^an  wished  to  serve  God, 
but  he  helped  to  bring  about  modern  capitalism.  The  point  is  also  shown 
in  the  following  passage  concerning  capitalism  and  the  individual: 

This  masterless  slavery  in  which  capitalism  enmeshes  the  worker  or  the 
debtor  is  only  debatable  ethically  as  an  institution.  In  principle,  the  personal 
conduct  of  those  who  participate,  on  either  the  side  of  the  rulers  or  of  the 
ruled,  is  not  morally  debatable,  as  such  conduct  is  essentially  prescribed  by 
objective  situations.  If  they  do  not  conform,  they  are  threatened  by  economic 
bankruptcy  which  would,  in  every  respect,  be  useless.^^ 

One  might  easily  accumulate  statements  from  Weber's  work  that 
would  reinforce  this  point,  as  the  translations  in  the  present  volume  make 
clear.  It  is  understandable  that  Weber  felt  it  equally  wrong  to  consider 


his  work  as  an  idealist  interpretation  of  history  as  it  was  to  consider 
it  as  a  case  of  historical  materialism. 

The  nominalism  of  Weber's  method  may  be  understood  in  terms  of  V 
his  attempt  to  avoid  a  philosophical  emphasis  upon  either  material  or    \ 
ideal  factors,  or  upon  either  structural  or  individual  principles  of  ex-       \ 
planation.  His  attachment  to  Western  positivist  thought  is  shown  in  his         I 
scorn  for  any  'philosophical'  or  'metaphysical'  elements  in  the   social        / 
sciences.  He  wants  to  give  these  sciences  the  same  matter-of-fact  approach      / 
with  which  the  natural  sciences  approach  nature.  / 

A  quantitative  method  goes  hand  in  hand  with  such  a  conception  and 
stands  in  opposition  to  a  perspective  in  which  all  phenomena  are  seen  as 
qualitatively  unique  entities.  For  Weber,  historical  and  social  uniqueness 
results  from  specific  combinations  of  general  factors,  which  when  iso- 
lated are  quantifiable.  Thus  the  'same'  elements  may  be  seen  in  a  series 
of  other  unique  combinations.  '.  .  .  Of  course,  in  the  last  analysis,  all 
qualitative  contrasts  in  reality  can  somehow  be  comprehended  as  purely 
quantitative  differences  made  up  of  combinations  of  various  single 
factors.'  ^*  He  does  not  say  that  quality  can  be  'reduced'  to  quantity;  in- 
deed, as  a  nominalist,  he  is  quite  sensitive  to  the  qualitative  uniqueness 
of  cultural  reality  and  to  the  qualitative  differences  resulting  from  quan- 
titative changes.  For  instance:  'From  our  special  point  of  view,  where 
the  increased  fear  of  the  world  has  led  to  a  flight  from  occupational 
pursuits  in  the  private  economy,  pietism  not  only  turns  into  something 
differing  in  degree  but  into  an  element  differing  in  quality.'  ^^ 

The  much-discussed  'ideal  type,'  a  key  term  in  Weber's  methodologi- 
cal discussion,  refers  to  the  construction  of  certain  elements  of  reality 
into  a  logically  precise  conception.  The  term  'ideal'  has  nothing  to  do 
with  evaluations  of  any  sort.  For  analytical  purposes,  one  may  construct 
ideal  types  of  prostitution  as  well  as  of  religious  leaders.  The  term  does 
not  mean  that  either  prophets  or  harlots  are  exemplary  or  should  be 
imitated  as  representatives  of  an  ideal  way  of  life. 

By  using  this  term,  Weber  did  not  mean  to  introduce  a  new  con- 
ceptual tool.  He  merely  intended  to  bring  to  full  awareness  what  social 
scientists  and  historians  had  been  doing  when  they  used  words  like  'the 
economic  man,'  'feudalism,'  'Gothic  versus  Romanesque  architecture,' 
or  'kingship.'  He  felt  that  social  scientists  had  the  choice  of  using  logically 
controlled  and  unambiguous  conceptions,  which  are  thus  more  removed 
from  historical  reality,  or  of  using  less  precise  concepts,  which  are  more  I 
closely  geared  to  the  empirical  world.  Weber's  interest  in  world-wide 


comparisons  led  him  to  consider  extreme  and  'pure  cases.'  These  cases 
became  'crucial  instances'  and  controlled  the  level  of  abstraction  that 
he  used  in  connection  with  any  particular  problem.  The  real  meat  of 
history  would  usually  fall  in  between  such  extreme  types;  hence  Weber 
would  approximate  the  multiplicity  of  specific  historical  situations  by 
bringing  various  type  concepts  to  bear  upon  the  specific  case  under  his 

The  quantitative  approach  to  unique  cultural  constellations  and  the 
conception  of  ideal  types  are  intimately  hnked  with  the  comparative 
method.  This  method  implies  that  two  constellations  are  comparable  in 
terms  of  some  feature  common  to  them  both.  A  statement  of  such 
common  features  implies  the  use  of  general  concepts.  The  manner  in 
which  Weber  construes  the  world  religions  as  variant  interpretations  of 
'senseless  suffering'  displays  his  technique  of  arranging  'cases'  on  a  typo- 
logical scale.*  The  same  technique  is  at  work  in  his  typology  of  capital- 
ism, built  along  a  scale  of  different  avenues  for  profit-opportunities.  As 
general  concepts,  ideal  types  are  tools  with  which  Weber  prepares  the 
descriptive  materials  of  world  history  for  comparative  analysis.  These 
types  vary  in  scope  and  in  the  level  of  their  abstraction.  When  Weber 
characterizes  'democracy'  as  'a  minimization  of  power,'  he  has  the  broad- 
est  formulation,  and  the  least  specific  historically.  Several  techniques  of 
minimizing  power,  such  as  short  terms  of  office,  checks  and  balances, 
thq  referendum,  and  so  on,  are  possible  in  particular  historical  cases. 
These  cases  are  worked  into  sub-types  of  democracy.  By  incorporating 
selected  historical  features  into  the  general  conception  of  democracy,  he 
is  able  to  restrict  this  general  type  and  approximate  historical  cases 
more  closely. 

His  concern  with  specific  historical  problems  and  his  interest  in  a  com- 
parative sociology  of  a  generalizing  nature  are  thus  related;  the  difference 
between  them  is  one  of  emphasis.  By  the  use  of  a  battery  of  ideal  types, 
he  builds  up  a  conception  of  a  particular  historical  case.  In  his  compara- 
tive studies,  he  uses  the  same  ideal  type  conceptions,  but  he  uses  history 
as  a  storehouse  of  examples  for  these  concepts.  In  short,  the  respective 
research  interest — in  elaborating  a  concept  or  in  constructing  a  historical 
object — determines  his  procedure. 

(In  any  case,  Weber  is  concerned  with  using  generalized  conceptions 
n  order  to  understand  society  as  subject  to  lawful  regularities.  For  such 

*  See  chapter  xi,  'The  Social  Psychology  of  World  Religions.' 


regularities  are  necessary  in  order  to  satisfy  an  interest  in  causation.  To 
understand  a  sequence  of  regular  events  causally,  one  must  examine 
comparable  conditions.  Thus,  in  an  attempt  to  validate  his  causal  analy- 
sis of  religion  and  capitalism  in  the  Occident,  Weber  examined  many 
other  civilizations.  Although  capitalist  beginnings  could  be  observed 
in  these  other  civilizations,  capitaHsm  in  the  Western  sense  did  not 
emerge.  Weber  wished  to  find  those  factors  in  other  civilizations  which 
blocked  the  emergence  of  capitalism,  even  though  there  were  many 
favorable  conditions  present  for  its  emergence.  By  such  a  comparative 
analysis  of  causal  sequences,  Weber  tried  to  find  not  only  the  neces- 
sary but  the  sufficient  conditions  of  capitalism.  Only  in  the  Occident,  par- 
ticularly where  inner-worldly  asceticism  produced  a  specific  personality 
type,  were  the  sufficient  conditions  present.  In  his  pluralism,  he  naturally 
did  not  consider  this  type  of  personality  the  only  factor  involved  in  the 
origin  of  capitalism;  he  merely  wished  to  have  it  included  among  the 
conditions  of  capitalism. 

4:  The  Sociology  of  Ideas  and  Interests 

The  discussion  of  bureaucratic  institutions  and  personal  leaders,  of 
workaday  routines  and  extraordinariness,  is  paralleled  by  Weber's  con- 
ception of  the  relations  between  ideas  and  interests.  Both  Marx  and 
Nietzsche  had  contributed  to  a  theory  of  the  function  and  content  of 
ideas;  both  of  them  shifted  the  traditional  emphasis  upon  the  content 
of  ideas  to  an  emphasis  upon  the  pragmatic  connection  of  ideas  with 
their  results.  They  developed  techniques  for  interpreting  ideas  in  terms 
of  their  intended  or  actual  service  rather  than  in  terms  of  their  face  value. 

Marx  viewed  ideas  in  terms  of  their  public  function  in  the  struggles 
of  classes  and  parties.  Nietzsche  approached  ideas  in  terms  of  their 
psychological  service  to  the  individual  thinker,  or  at  least  when  he  did 
speak  of  the  public  context,  his  sociological  tools  were  so  crude  that  only 
the  psychological  mechanisms  were  fruitfully  brought  out  in  his  analysis. 
If  for  Marx  ideas  of  practical  import  became  ideologies  as  weapons  in 
the  struggles  of  groups,  for  Nietzsche^ they  turned  into  the  rationaliza- 
tions of  individuals,  or  at  best  of  'masters  and  slaves.'  Marx  commented 
that  ideas  become  material  forces  as  soon  as  they  take  hold  of  the 
masses;  he  linked  the  historical  vitality  of  ideas  to  their  role  in  justifying 
economic  interests.  Nietzsche  modified  Matthew's  statement,  'He  who 
humbles  himself  shall  be  raised,'  into  'He  who  humbles  himself  wants 


to  be  raised.'  Thus  he  ascribed  voHtions  to  the  speaker  which  lay  be- 
neath the  content  of  his  ideas.  '  "I  did  that,"  says  my  memory,  "I  could 
not  have  done  that,"  says  my  pride  and  remains  inexorable.  Eventually — 
the  memory  yields.'  ^^ 

Weber  attempts  to  incorporate  the  points  of  view  both  of  Marx  and 
of  Nietzsche  in  his  discussion:  With  Marx,  he  shares  the  sociological 
approach  to  ideas:  they  are  powerless  in  history  unless  they  are  fused 
with  material  interests:  And  with  Nietzsche,  he  is  deeply  concerned 
with  the  importance  of  ideas  for  psychic  reactions.* 

Yet,  in  contrast  to  both  Nietzsche  and  Marx,  Weber  refuses  to  con- 
ceive of  ideas  as  being  'mere'  reflections  of  psychic  or  social  interests.  All 
spheres — intellectual,  psychic,  political,  economic,  religious — to  some  ex- 
tent follow  developments  of  their  own.  Where  Marx  and  Nietzsche  are 
quick  to  see  a  correspondence  between  ideas  and  interests,  Weber  is  also 
eager  to  state  possible  tensions  between  ideas  and  interests,  between  one 
sphere  and  another,  or  between  internal  states  and  external  demands. 
iThus,  in  analyzing  Hebrew  prophecy,  he  seeks  to  balance  psychological 
and  historical  influences: 

In  any  case,  one  can  hardly  assume  that  an  unambiguous  psychic  determi- 
nation of  'political  hypochondria'  has  been  the  source  of  the  prophets'  stand. 
The  prophecy  of  doom  has  to  be  deduced,  to  a  large  extent,  from  the  psychical 
disposition  of  the  prophets,  as  determined  by  constitutional  endowments  and 
personal  experiences.  Yet,  it  is  no  less  certain  that  the  historical  destinies  of 
Israel  have  indeed  given  the  prophecies  of  doom  their  place  in  religious  de- 
velopment. And  this  is  so,  not  only  in  the  sense  that  tradition  has  of  course 
preserved  those  oracles  of  the  prophets  that  were  fulfilled,  which  have  ap- 
peared to  be  fulfilled,  or  whose  advent  could  still  be  expected.  The  increas- 
ingly unshatterable  prestige  of  prophecy  in  general  has  rested  upon  those 
few  cases  that  were  terribly  impressive  for  the  prophet's  contemporaries, 
and  in  which  the  prophets  by  their  success  were  unexpectedly  in  the  right.^^ 

The  decisive  conception  by  which  Weber  relates  ideas  and  interests 
is  that  of  'elective  affinity,'  rather  than  'correspondence,'  'reflection,'  or 
'expression.'  For  Marx,  ideas  'express'  interests;  thus,  the  hidden  God 
of  the  Puritans  expresses  the  irrationality  and  anonymity  of  the  market. 
For  Nietzsche,  asceticist  Christianity  'reflects'  the  resentment  of  the 
slaves,  who  thus  'express'  their  'revolt  in  morals.'  For  Weber,  there  is 
hardly  ever  a  close  connection  between  the  interests  or  the  social  origin 

*  A  brief  discussion  of  Nietzsche's  theory  of  resentment  will  be  found  in  chapter  xi, 
'Social  Psychology  of  World  Religions,'  and  chapter  vii,  'Class,  Status,  Party.' 


of  the  speaker  or  of  his  following  with  the  content  of  the  idea  during 
its  inception.  The  ancient  Hebrew  prophets,  the  leaders  of  the  Reforma- 
tion, or  the  revolutionary  vanguard  of  modern  class  movements  were 
not  necessarily  recruited  from  the  strata  which  in  due  course  be- 
came the  prime  bearers  of  their  respective  ideas.  Only  during  the  process 
of  routinization  do  the  followers  'elect'  those  features  of  the  idea  with 
which  they  have  an  'affinity,'  a  'point  of  coincidence'  or  'convergence.' 

There  is  no  pre-established  correspondence  between  the  content  of  an 
idea  and  the  interests  of  those  who  follow  from  the  first  hour.  But,  in 
time,  ideas  are  discredited  in  the  face  of  history  unless  they  point  in  the 
direction  of  conduct  that  various  interests  promote.  Ideas,  selected  and 
reinterpreted  from  the  original  doctrine,  do  gain  an  affinity  with  the 
interests  of  certain  members  of  special  strata;  if  they  do  not  gain  such  an 
affinity,  they  are  abandoned.  Thus  by  distinguishing  the  phases  of  the 
personal  and  charismatic  origin  of  ideas  and  their  routinization  and 
social  impact,  Weber  is  able  to  take  into  account  a  number  of  complica- 
tions, which  are  reflected  in  changing  shades  of  meaning.  Both  the  ideas 
and  their  publics  are  seen  as  independent;  by  a  selective  process  ele- 
ments in  both  find  their  affinities. 

Throughout  his  Hfe,  Max  Weber  was  engaged  in  a  fruitful  battle 
with  historical  materialism.  In  his  last  course  of  lectures  in  Munich  at 
the  time  of  the  Revolution,  he  presented  his  course  under  the  title,  'A 
Positive  Critique  of  Historical  Materialism.'  Yet  there  is  a  definite  drift 
of  emphasis  in  his  intellectual  biography  towards  Marx. 

When  writing  the  Protestant  Ethic,  Weber  was  eager  to  emphasize 
the  autonomous  role  of  ideas  in  the  origin  of  modern  capitalism — 
though  not,  of  course,  in  the  sense  of  Hegel.  He  felt  that  modern  capi- 
talism in  its  beginnings  required  a  certain  type  of  personality.  This 
personality  type,  in  turn,  was  psychologically  construed  as  a  result  of 
belief  in  a  set  of  ideas  that  unwittingly  resulted  in  the  development 
of  those  specific  personality  traits  useful  in  capitalist  conduct.  Thus  in 
giving  'a  spiritualist  construction'  of  the  background  of  modern  capital- 
ism, Weber  begins  with  religious  conceptions.  In  his  last  essays,  how- 
ever, he  begins  his  analysis  of  China,  for  instance,  with  chapters  on  the 
economic  basis.  The  more  embittered  Weber  became  with  German 
politics,  the  more  he  came  to  appreciate  the  weight  of  material  interests 
in  the  success  of  ideas,  however  lofty  in  content  and  intention  they  might 
be.  Thus  during  the  war  he  wrote:  'Not  ideas,  but  material  and  ideal 
interests  directly  govern  man's  conduct.  Yet  very  frequently  the  "world 


images"  which  have  been  created  by  "ideas"  have,  like  switchmen,  de- 
termined the  tracks  along  which  action  has  been  pushed  by  the  dynamic 
o£  interests.'  ^® 

Such  passages  remind  one  of  the  mechanical  metaphors  of  Marx, 
with  his  revolutions  as  the  'locomotives  of  history,'  or  of  Trotsky  with 
his  'ideological  switchmen.'  ^^  Mechanical  imagery  of  this  sort  seems 
to  stand  opposite  the  organic  metaphors  of  growth  and  development 
favored  by  more  conservative  writers.  Where  images  of  organic  nature 
are  utilized  they  are  not  images  of  gradualism  and  vegetative  growth, 
but  of  incubation  and  birth. 

In  Weber's  handling  of  specific  ideas,  one  may  discern  different  levels 
of  sociological  interpretation  at  work.  In  a  sweeping  way,  he  locates 
entire  'world  images'  as  symbol  constructions  associated  with  the  social 
conditions  of  specific  strata.  Thus  he  sees  a  connection  between  the  re- 
ligious conception  of  a  quietistic  and  passive  Being  and  the  mystic 
states  and  contemplative  techniques  of  genteel  and  literary  intellectuals, 
especially  in  India  and  China.  He  tries  to  establish  an  intimate  relation 
between  the  nature  of  a  predominant  psychological  state,  the  structure 
of  an  act  of  perception,  and  the  meaning  of  an  object.  All  three  aspects, 
in  turn,  are  facilitated  by  and  have  an  affinity  to  the  social-historical  situ- 
ation of  the  intellectuals  within  the  social  structure.  This  historical  struc- 
ture, by  itself,  does  not  determine  the  direction  in  which  the  strata  of 
intellectuals  may  elaborate  their  conceptions;  rather  it  permits  or  blocks 
the  attempt,  characteristic  of  intellectuals,  to  tackle  the  senselessness  of 
suffering  and  of  the  world.\ln  the  Occident,  intellectuals  also  experi- 
mented in  the  direction  of  mystic  contemplation;  but  such  endeavors, 
according  to  Weber,  were  repeatedly  frustrated.  A  more  volitional  and 
active  search  for  meaning  became  predominant  in  the  Occident.  ^ 

The  active  interests  of  Occidental  intellectuals  in  mastering  political 
events  have  been  connected  with  the  volitional  and  anthropomorphic 
image  of  a  wrathful  yet  benign  God.  The  main  stream  of  Christianity 
is  thus  seen  in  continuity  with  Hebrew  prophecy.  The  prophets  of 
ancient  Judaism  are  characterized  as  active  demagogues,  who  by  the 
power  of  the  word  aimed  at  a  mastery  of  the  course  of  historical  events. 
The  priesthood  was  not  strong  enough  to  suppress  effectively  such  self- 
appointed  religious  demagogues. 

Weber,  in  his  sociology  of  knowledge,  was  not,  however,  exclusively 
concerned   with   such   world  images.   He   also  concerned   himself  with 


many  particular  ideologies,  which  he  saw  as->f  land,  as  well  as  com- 
motivate  materially  interested  strata.  matically  led  raids  on 

Here  are  some  examples:  The  acceptance  of  the  reiiyres  may  be  ex- 
o£  the  Crusades  is  linked  to  the  imperialist  aspirations  oiiered  princes, 
who  were  interested  in  securing  fiefs  for  their  progeny.  Calry  of  the 
of  course,  displayed  other  motives.  The  emergence  and  diffusion  Hemi- 
mendicant  monk  order,  or  Franciscans,  is  linked  to  the  interests  otites 
ula^  power  leaders  in  exploiting  their  skill  as  unpaid  teachers,  or  as 
urban  demagogues  who  during  crises  were  able  to  tame  urban  masses. 
Whether  or  not  these  mendicant  monks  would  have  survived  against 
the  opposition  of  the  Pope  and  the  priesthood  without  having  had  these 
skills  is  an  open  question.  The  same  situation  applies  to  the  Jesuit  order, 
after  the  Pope  outlawed  them  and  Frederick  the  Great  gave  them  asylum 
in  Prussia.  The  advocacy  of  the  intrinsic  value  of  a  particular  language 
is  often  associated  with  the  material  interests  of  publishers  in  national- 
ism. The  commands  of  modern  bureaucracies  assume  the  form  of 
'general  rules'  rather  than  of  'particular  decrees,'  as  may  be  seen  in  con- 
nection with  their  general  rationalizing  tendency.  When  Weber  deals 
with  political  problems,  he  seems  to  use  this  mode  of  interpreting  ideas 
as  simple  justifications.  When  he  handles  religious  problems,  he  is  more 
likely  to  emphasize  the  concept  of  'elective  affinity.' 

5:  Social  Structures  and  Types  of  Capitalism 

The  pragmatic  view  of  ideas,  which  Max  Weber  shares  with  Karl 
Marx  and  John  Dewey,  is  associated  with  a  refutation  of  the  Hegelian 
tradition.  Weber  thus  rejects  such  conceptions  as  'national  character' 
and  'folk  spirit,'  which  have  permeated  German  historiography  and 
which,  in  conservative  thinking,  have  served  as  tools  of  interpretation. 
He  construes  social  dynamics  in  terms  of  a  pluralistic  analysis  of  factors, 
which  may  be  isolated  and  gauged  in  terms  of  their  respective  causal 
weights..  He  does  this  by  comparative  analyses  of  comparable  units, 
which  are  found  in  different  cultural  settings. 

This  does  not  mean  that  he  has  no  total  conceptions  of  social  struc- 
tures. On  the  contrary,  the  more  Weber  comes  to  an  analysis  of  the  con- 
temporary era,  the  more  ready  he  is  to  speak  of  capitalism  as  a  unit. 
The  unit  is  seen  as  a  configuration  of  institutions,  which  by  the  logic 
of  their  own  requirements  increasingly  narrow  the  range  of  effective 
choices  open  to  men. 


For  Weber,  a  unit,  such  as  capitalism,  is  not  an  undifferentiated  whole 
to  be  equated  with  'an  acquisitive  instinct'  or  with  'pecuniary  society.' 
Rather  it  is  seen,  as  Marx  and  Sorel  saw  it,  as  a  scale  of  types,  each  of 
which  has  peculiar  institutional  features.  The  further  back  Weber  goes 
historically,  the  more  he  is  willing  to  see  capitalism  as  one  feature  of  a 
historical  situation;  the  more  he  approaches  modern  industrial  capitalism, 
the  more  willing  he  is  to  see  capitalism  as  a  pervasive  and  unifying  affair. 
High  capitalism  absorbs  other  institutions  into  its  own  image,  and  nu- 
merous institutional  crisscrosses  give  way  to  a  set  of  parallel  forces  head- 
ing in  the  same  direction.  This  direction  is  towards  the  rationalization 
of  all  spheres  of  life.  In  such  an  increasingly  unilinear  construction  of 
history,  one  may  discern  a  sublimated  conception  of  the  liberal  notion 
of  'progress.' 

In  conformity  with  liberal  thinking,  which  is  interested  in  separating 
politics  and  economics,  ^ypbf-r  djsringiiishes  between  two  basic  types  of 
capitalism :  'political  capitalism'  and  'modern  industrial'  or  'bourgeois 
capitali^p.'  *  Capitalism,  of  course,  can  only  emerge  when  at  least  the 
beginnings  of  a  money-economy  exists. 

In  political  capitalism,  opportunities  for  profit  are  dependent  upon  the 
preparation  for  and  the  exploitation  of  warfare,  conquest,  and  the  pre- 
rogative power  of  political  administration.  Within  this  type  are  imperial- 
ist, colonial,  adventure  or  booty,  and  fiscal.  In  addition,  with  a  view  of 
locating  the  peculiar  marginal  situation  of  trading  groups,  Weber  speaks 
of  pariah  capitalism.  This  concept  is  applied  to  Occidental  Jewry  from 
later  Antiquity  to  the  present,  and  to  the  Parsees  in  India.  Although 
functionally  indispensable,  for  reasons  of  ethnic  and  religious  back- 
ground, such  strata  are  socially  segregated  and  reduced  to  a  pariah  status. 
By  imperialist  capitalism,  Weber  refers  to  a  situation  in  which  profit 
interests  are  either  the  pacemakers  or  the  beneficiaries  of  political  ex- 
pansion. The  greatest  examples  are  the  Roman  and  the  British  Empires, 
and  the  competitive  imperialism  of  the  present  epoch.  Colonial  capital- 
ism, intimately  connected  with  political  imperialism,  refers  to  those 
capitalisms  which  profit  from  the  commercial  exploitation  of  political 
prerogatives  over  conquered  territories.  Such  prerogatives  include  po- 
litically guaranteed  trading  monopolies,  shipping  privileges,  the  politi- 

*  'In  my  opinion  Sombart  has,  in  important  respects,  quite  adequately  characterized 
what  should  be  understood  by  the  early  capitalist  epoch.  There  are  no  "definitive"  his- 
torical concepts.  I  do  not  share  the  vanity  of  contemporary  authors  who  conduct  them- 
selves in  the  face  of  a  terminology  used  by  some  one  else  as  if  it  were  his  toothbrush.' 
Archiv  jiir  Soziahvissenschaft  tind  Sozialpolitik.,  1906,  p.  348. 


cally  determined  acquisition  and  exploitation  of  land,  as  well  as  com- 
pulsory labor.  Adventure  capitalism  refers  to  charismatically  led  raids  on 
foreign  countries  for  the  sake  of  treasure.  Such  treasures  may  be  ex- 
tracted from  temples,  tombs,  mines,  or  the  chests  of  conquered  princes, 
or  they  may  be  raised  as  levies  on  the  ornaments  and  jewelry  of  the 
population.  The  heroic  period  of  the  conquest  of  the  Western  Hemi- 
sphere by  the  Spaniards,  the  overseas  enterprises  of  the  Italian  city-states 
during  the  Middle  Ages,  the  Hanseatic  League,  and  the  merchant  ad- 
venturers of  England  are  pre-eminent  historical  examples.  Whereas  ad- 
venture capitalism  emphasizes  the  discontinuous  and  charismatic  nature 
of  these  operations,  the  term  booty  capitalism  emphasizes  the  objectives 

In  certain  contexts,  Weber  is  eager  to  distinguish  the  extraordinary 
capitalist  from  the  routine  activities  of  the  workaday  enterpriser;  in  the 
former  case  he  speaks  of  charismatic  capitalists  as  'economic  supermen.^' 
Such  figures  have  occurred  in  many  historical  contexts:  in  the  new 
empire  of  ancient  Egypt,  in  ancient  China,  India,  in  western  Antiquity, 
in  the  waning  of  the  Middle  Ages,  as  well  as  in  nineteenth-century 
America.  The  Fuggers  and  Rockefeller,  Mellon,  and  Cecil  Rhodes  are 
examples.  The  difference  between  such  charismatic  capitalists  and  'sober 
bourgeois'  capitalists  has  been  overlooked  quite  frequently  in  contro- 
versies over  the  problem  of  the  Protestant  ethic  and  its  causal  relevance 
for  the  rise  of  'modern  capitalism.' "° 

Fiscal  capitalism,  as  used  by  Weber,  refers  to  certain  profit  opportuni- 
ties that  accrue  from  the  exploitation  of  political  prerogatives.  The  most 
important  phenomenon  of  this  type  is  the  farming  out  of  tax  collection 
to  private  enterprisers,  as  was  the  rule  in  ancient  Rome  and  the  ancien 
regime  in  France.  The  leasing  of  the  sale  of  indulgences  to  Italian  mer- 
chants as  compensations  for  their  loans  to  the  Vatican;  the  entrepreneurial 
organization  of  military  and  naval  forces  by  condottieri;  the  leasing  of 
the  right  to  com  money  to  private  enterprisers,  such  as  Jacob  Fugger,  are 
further  examples. 

These  analytical  types  of  capitalism  serve  to  emphasize  different 
aspects  of  historical  situations  that  are  themselves  quite  fluid.  The  unique- 
ness of  modern  industrial  capitalism  consists  in  the  fact  that  a  specific 
production  establishment  emerges  and  is  enlarged  at  the  expense  of  pre- 
capitalist production  units.  This  production  establishment  has  its  legal, 
political,  and  ideological  preconditions,  but  it  is  nevertheless  historically 
unique.  It  is  based  on  the  organization  of  formally  free  labor  and  the 


fixed  plant.  The  owner  of  the  plant  operates  at  his  own  risk  and  pro- 
duces commodities  for  anonymous  and  competitive  markets.  His  opera- 
tions are  usually  controlled  rationally  by  a  constant  balancing  of  costs 
and  returns.  All  elements,  including  his  own  entrepreneurial  services, 
are  brought  to  book  as  items  in  the  balance  of  his  accounts. 
I  X,ike  Marx,  Weber  insists  upon  locating  the  basic  institutional  unit 
■  of  modern  capitalism  in  production  rather  than  in  commerce  or  finance. 
A  system  of  capitalism  grows  from  these  units  of  production.  This 
system  undergoes  various  historical  phases;  its  highest  stage  is  char- 
acterized by  the  separation  of  ownership  and  management  and  the 
financing  of  corporations  by  sales  to  the  public  of  shares  in  the  possible 
returns  from  future  operations.  For  this  late  stage  of  capitalism,  Weber 
accepts  Sombart's  term,  'High  Capitalism.' 

Unlike  Marx,  however,  Weber  is  not  interested  in  investigating  the 
problems  of  capitalist  dynamics.  The  problem  of  the  business  cycle  and 
the  capitalist  crises,  which  were  so  essential  for  Marx's  characterization 
of  capitalism  as  'an  anarchy  of  production,'  have  httle  part  in  Weber's 
analysis.  This  omission  is  of  consequence  for  Weber's  conception  of  ra- 
tionality in  modern  society.  For  Marx,  the  rational  elements  of  society 
were  the  means  which  served,  yet  which  increasingly  contradicted,  un- 
mastered  and  irrational  elements.  For  Weber,  capitalism  is  the  highest 
form  of  rational  operations;  yet  it  is  implemented  by  two  irrationalities: 
the  remains  of  an  originally  religiously  anchored  attitude:  the  irrational 
calling  and  drive  for  continuous  work;  and  modern  socialism,  seen  as  the 
'utopia'  of  those  who  cannot  stand  up  under  what  seems  to  them  the 
senseless  injustice  of  an  economic  order  which  makes  them  dependent 
upon  propertied  entrepreneurs.  Being  keenl)  aware  of  the  institutional 
pressures  of  modern  capitalism,  Weber,  at  this  point,  is  ready  to  make 
use  of  the  category  of  social  totalities  as  'going  concerns.'  Once  in  the 
saddle,  for  instance,  capitalism  no  longer  needs  religious  motives. 

In  sociological  theory,  a  'subjective'  theory  of  the  stratification  of 
capitalism  has  often  been  opposed  to  an  'objective'  one.  The  classic  Eng- 
Hsh  economists,  prominently  Ricardo,  as  well  as  Marx  represented  the 
objective  theory,  defining  'class'  in  terms  of  typically  recurrent  incomes: 
rent,  profit,  wage.  Accordingly,  for  them,  landlord,  entrepreneur,  and 
worker  make  up  the  class  structure.  It  does  not  matter  whether  these 
agents  conceive  of  themselves  as  Britons,  highlanders,  or  what  not;  their 
class  positions  are  strictly  located  by  their  place  and  function  within 
the  objective  economic  order.  Marx,  adhering  to  this  tradition,  added  a 


historical  aspect  by  emphasizing  the  specifically  modern  nature  of 
bourgeois  and  proletarian  classes. 

Subjective  theories  of  class,  on  the  other  hand,  have  placed  great  em- 
phasis  upon  the  psychic  traits  of  'class  members.'  Those  holding  this 
subjective  theory  have  been  eager  to  speak  of  the  'fourth  estate'  as 
emerging  side  by  side  w^ith  the  older  estates.  Conceptions  of  respecta- 
bility and  of  social  honor,  descriptive  elements  of  political  and  religious 
opinions,  and  sentiments  corinec'ted  with  local  and  regional  ways  of  life 
displace  the  strict  theoretical  approach  of  the  economists.  It  was  left  to 
Moeller  van  den  Bruck,  author  of  The  Third  Reich,  to  carry  the  sub- 
jective theory  of  classes  to  absurdity:  'He  is  a  proletariat  who  wants  to 
think  of  himself  as  one.  The  proletarian  consciousness  makes  man  a 
proletariat,  not  the  machine,  not  the  mechanization  of  labor,  not  wage- 
dependency  on  the  capitalist  mode  of  production.'  ^^ 

Max  Weber  is  not  ready  to  let  man  overcome  hard  economic  fate  by 
such  acrobatics  of  will  power.  Class  situations  are  determined  by  the 
relations  of  the  market;  in  the  last  analysis,  they  go  back  to  the  differ- 
ences between  the  propertied  and  the  non-propertied.  He  thus  shares 
with  the  objective  school  the  emphasis  upon  the  economic  order  and 
the  strict  distinction  between  objectively  characterized  positions  and  a 
variety  of  shifting  and  subjective  attitudes  that  may  be  related  to  such 

In  locating  the  class  problem  in  the  market  and  in  the  streams  of 
income  and  property,  Weber  points  towards  production  and  its  modern 
unit,  the  capitalist  enterprise.  He  is  prepared  to  give  full  credit  to  Marx 
for  his  insight  into  the  historical  nature  of  the  modern  class  structure. 
Only  when  subjective  opinions  can  be  attributed  to  men  in  an  objective 
class  situation  does  Weber  speak  of  'class-consciousness';  and  when  he 
focuses  upon  problems  of  'conventions,'  'styles  of  life,'  of  occupational 
attitudes,  he  prefers  to  speak  of  prestige  or  of  'status  groups.'  These  latter 
problems,  of  course,  point  towards  consumption,  which,  to  be  sure,  de- 
pends upon  income  derived  from  production  or  from  property,  but 
which  goes  beyond  this  sphere.  By  making  this  sharp  distinction  between 
class  and  status,  and  by  differentiating  between  types  of  classes  and 
types  of  status  groups,  Weber  is  able  to  refine  the  problems  of  stratifica- 
tion to  an  extent  which  thus  far  has  not  been  surpassed.* 

*  See  chapter  vii,  'Class,  Status,  Party,'  for  his  analjsis. 

70  the  man  and  his  work 

6:  Conditions  of  Freedom  and  the  Image  of  Man 

The  habit  of  the  modern  pohtical  inteUigentsia  of  cloaking  the  aspira- 
tions of  their  parties  under  historical  necessity,  and  of  advancing  such 
constructions  with  the  pathos  of  'iron  necessity,'  is  characteristic  of  con- 
servatism as  well  as  Marxism.  In  both  cases  the  concept  of  freedom  fol- 
lows Hegel's  'Fata  nolentem  trahunt,  volentem  ducunt'  (The  fates  drag 
the  one  who  does  not  will;  they  lead  the  one  who  does).  On  the  political 
right,  the  pre-eminent  prophet  of  doom  was  Oswald  Spengler,  whose 
morphological  construction  of  culture  cycles  Weber  criticized  as  arbi- 
trary intuitions  exploiting  historical  literature  for  non-scientific  ends. 

Weber's  liberal  heritage  and  urge  prevented  him  from  taking  a 
determinist  position.  He  felt  that  freedom  consists  not  in  realizing  alleged 
historical  necessities  but  rather  in  making  deliberate  choices  between  open 
alternatives.  The  future  is  a  field  for  strategy  rather  than  a  mere  repeti- 
tion or  unfolding  of  the  past.  Yet  the  possibilities  of  the  future  are  not 
infinite,  nor  are  they  clay  in  the  hands  of  the  wilful  man. 

Weber  saw  social  life  as  a  polytheism  of  values  in  combat  with  one 
another,  and  choices  were  possible  among  these  values.*  The  decision- 
making, morally  responsible  individual  is,  of  course,  a  specifically  modern 
and  Occidental  type  of  personality.  This  man  can  be  more  than  a 
mere  cog  in  his  occupational  groove.  If  he  is  responsible,  he  will  have  to 
make  informed  decisions.  To  Weber,  sociological  knowledge  is  of  a 
kind  that  the  complexity  of  modern  civilization  requires  of  one  who 
would  take  intelligent  stands  on  public  issues.  Such  responsible  decisions 
are  equally  remote  from  the  emotional  fanaticism  of  followers  of  dema- 
gogues as  from  the  cynical  sophistication  of  the  snob  or  the  blase  smug- 
ness of  the  Philistine. 

As  he  was  not  willing  to  see  bureaucrats  as  harbingers  of  freedom, 
Weber  felt  that  the  field  of  responsible  freedom  was  shrinking.  He  saw 
himself,  in  this  connection,  as  an  old-fashioned  liberal,  unafraid  of  being 
on  the  defensive  or  of  swimming  against  the  stream.  The  following  pas- 
sage, which  we  reproduce  at  length,  may  illustrate  Weber's  fears  as 
well  as  his  assertion  of  the  conditions  of  modern  freedom.  It  was  written 
in  1906. 

*  See  chapter  v,  'Science  as  a  Vocation,'  and  chapter  xiii,  'Rehgious  Rejections  of  the 


The  opportunities  for  democracy  and  individualism  would  look  very  bad 
today  were  we  to  rely  upon  the  lawful  effects  of  material  interests  for  their 
development.  For  the  development  of  material  interests  points,  as  distinctly 
as  possible,  in  the  opposite  direction:  in  the  American  'benevolent  feudalism,' 
in  the  so-called  'welfare  institutions'  of  Germany,  in  the  Russian  factory  con- 
stitution .  .  .  everywhere  the  house  is  ready-made  for  a  new  servitude.  It 
only  waits  for  the  tempo  of  technical  economic  'progress'  to  slow  down  and 
for  rent  to  triumph  over  profit.  The  latter  victory,  joined  with  the  exhaustion 
of  the  remaining  free  soil  and  free  market,  will  make  the  masses  'docile.' 
Then  man  will  move  into  the  house  of  servitude.  At  the  same  time,  the  in- 
creasing complexity  of  the  economy,  the  partial  governmentalization  of  eco- 
nomic activities,  the  territorial  expansion  of  the  population — these  processes 
create  ever-new  work  for  the  clerks,  an  ever-new  specialization  of  functions, 
and  expert  vocational  training  and  administration.  All  this  means  caste. 

Those  American  workers  who  were  against  the  'Civil  Service  Reform' 
knew  what  they  were  about.  They  wished  to  be  governed  by  parvenus  of 
doubtful  morals  rather  than  by  a  certified  caste  of  mandarins.  But  their  pro- 
test was  in  vain. 

In  the  face  of  all  this,  those  who  constantly  fear  that  in  the  world  of  the 
future  too  much  democracy  and  individualism  may  exist  and  too  little  author- 
ity, aristocracy,  esteem  for  office,  or  such  like,  may  calm  down.  Only  too  much 
provision  has  been  made  to  see  to  it  that  the  trees  of  democratic  individualism 
do  not  shoot  into  the  sky.  According  to  all  experience,  history  relentlessly 
gives  rebirth  to  aristocracies  and  authorities;  and  those  who  deem  it  necessary 
for  themselves,  or  for  'the  people,'  may  cling  to  them.  If  only  material  con- 
ditions and  interest-constellations  directly  or  indirectly  created  by  them 
mattered,  then  every  sober  reflection  would  convince  us  that  all  economic 
weathercocks  point  in  the  direction  of  increasing  servitude. 

It  is  utterly  ridiculous  to  see  any  connection  between  the  high  capitalism 
of  today — as  it  is  now  being  imported  into  Russia  and  as  it  exists  in  Amer- 
ica— with  democracy  or  with  freedom  in  any  sense  of  these  words.  Yet  this 
capitalism  is  an  unavoidable  result  of  our  economic  development.  The  ques- 
tion is:  how  are  freedom  and  democracy  in  the  long  run  at  all  possible  under 
the  domination  of  highly  developed  capitalism?  Freedom  and  democracy 
are  only  possible  where  the  resolute  will  of  a  nation  not  to  allow  itself  to  be 
ruled  like  sheep  is  permanently  alive.  We  are  'individualists'  and  partisans 
of  'democratic'  institutions  'against  the  stream'  of  material  constellations.  He 
who  wishes  to  be  the  weathercock  of  an  evolutionary  trend  should  give  up 
these  old-fashioned  ideals  as  soon  as  possible.  The  historical  origin  of  modern 
freedom  has  had  certain  unique  preconditions  which  will  never  repeat  them- 
selves. Let  us  enumerate  the  most  important  of  these: 

First,  the  overseas  expansions.  In  the  armies  of  Cromwell,  in  the  French 


constituent  assembly,  in  our  whole  economic  life  even  today  this  breeze  from 
across  the  ocean  is  felt  .  .  .  but  there  is  no  new  continent  at  our  disposal. 
Irresistibly  the  point  of  gravity  of  the  population  of  Western  civilization  ad- 
vances toward  the  great  inland  areas  of  the  North  American  continent  on 
the  one  side  and  of  Russia  on  the  other.  This  happened  once  before,  in  late 
antiquity.  The  monotonous  plains  of  Russia  and  the  United  States  facilitate 

Second,  the  uniqueness  of  the  economic  and  social  structure  of  the  early 
capitalist  epoch  in  western  Europe. 

Third,  the  conquest  of  life  by  science,  'the  self-realization  of  the  spirit.' 
The  rational  construction  of  institutional  life,  doubtless  after  having  de- 
stroyed innumerable  'values,'  today,  at  least  in  principle,  has  done  its  work. 
In  the  wake  of  the  standardization  of  production,  it  has  made  the  external 
way  of  life  uniform.  Under  present  conditions  of  business,  the  impact  of  such 
standardization  is  universal.  Today,  science  itself  no  longer  creates  universal 

Finally,  certain  conceptions  of  ideal  values,  grown  out  of  a  world  of  defi- 
nite religious  ideas,  have  stamj)ed  the  ethical  peculiarity  and  cultural  values 
of  modern  man.  They  have  done  so  by  working  with  numerous  political  con- 
stellations, themselves  quite  unique,  and  with  the  material  preconditions  of 
early  capitalism.  One  need  merely  ask  whether  any  material  development  or 
even  any  development  of  the  high  capitalism  of  today  could  maintain  or  create 
again  these  unique  historical  conditions  of  freedom  and  democracy  in  order 
to  know  the  answer.  No  shadow  of  probability  speaks  for  the  fact  that 
economic  'socialization'  as  such  must  harbor  in  its  lap  either  the  development 
of  inwardly  'free'  personalities  of  'altruistic'  ideals."^ 

The  defensive  pessimism  for  the  future  of  freedom,  which  is  displayed 
in  this  passage  and  which  is  a  major  theme  of  Weber's  work,  is  rein- 
forced by  the  fate  he  sees  for  charisma  in  the  modern  world.  Although 
he  gives  a  quite  nominalist  definition  of  charisma,  it  rs  clear  that  the 
concept  serves  him  as  a  metaphysical  vehicle  of  man's  freedom  in  history. 
That  freedom,  as  carried  by  charisma,  is  doomed  is  evident  by  his  nostal- 
gic remark  concerning  the  French  Revolution.  After  tracing  and. classify- 
ing modern  liberties,  Weber  indicates  that  such  liberties  find  their  ulti- 
mate justification  in  the  concept  of  the  natural  law  of  reason;  and  then: 
'The  charismatic  glorification  of  "reason"  found  its  characteristic  expres- 
sion in  Robespierre's  apotheosis.  This  is  the  last  form  which  charisma 
has  assumed  in  its  long  road  of  varied  and  rich  destinies.'  ^^  Weber's 
concern  with  freedom  was  not  only  historical;  it  influenced  his  image 
of  contemporary  man  as  an  individual. 


He  conceived  of  individual  man  as  a  composite  of  general  character- 
istics derived  from  social  institutions;  the  individual  as  an  actor  of  social 
roles.  However,  this  holds  only  for  men  in  so  far  as  they  do  not- 
transcend  the  routines  of  everyday  institutions.  The  concept  of  charisma 
serves  to  underline  Weber's  view  that  all  men  everywhere  are  not  to  be 
comprehended  merely  as  social  products. 

Just  as  for  George  H.  Mead  the  T  is  ordinarily  in  tension  with  the  social 
roles  derived  from  the  expectations  of  others,  so  for  Weber  the  potentially 
charismatic  quality  of  man  stands  in  tension  with  the  external  demands 
of  institutional  life.  For  Mead,  the  tension  between  the  I  and  the  role- 
demands  is  resolved  in  the  creative  response  of  the  genius.  For  Weber, 
the  response  of  the  charismatic  leader  to  distress  unifies  external  demands 
and  internal  urges.  In  a  broad  sense,  one  may  say  that  externality  is 
identified  with  constraint  and  charisma  with  freedom.  Weber's  concep- 
tion of  human  freedom  thus  partakes  of  the  humanist  tradition  of 
liberalism  which  is  concerned  with  the  freedom  of  the  individual  to 
create  free  institutions.  Having  incorporated  the  Marxist  critique  of  capi- 
talism, he  sees  the  economic  system  as  a  compulsive  apparatus  rather 
than  as  the  locus  of  freedom. 

For  Weber,  capitaHsm  is  the  embodiment  of  rational  impersonality; 
the  quest  for  freedom  is  identified  with  irrational  sentiment  and  privacy. 
Freedom  is  at  best  a  tarrying  for  loving  companionship  and  for  the  ca- 
thartic experience  of  art  as  a  this-worldly  escape  from  institutional 
routines.  It  is  the  privilege  of  the  propertied  and  educated:  it  is  freedom 
without  equality. 

In  this  conception  of  freedom  as  a  historically  developed  phenomena, 
now  on  the  defensive  against  both  capitalism  and  bureaucracy,  Weber 
represents  humanist  and  cultural  liberalism  rather  than  economic  liberal- 
ism. The  humanist  tradition  in  which  Schiller  wrote  that  'Der  Mensch 
ist  freigeschaffen,  ist  frei,  und  wiird'  er  in  ketten  geboren'  is  evidenced  in 
Weber's  concern  with  the  decline  of  the  cultivated  man  as  a  well-rounded 
personality  in  favor  of  the  technical  expert,  who,  from  the  human  point 
of  view,  is  crippled.*  Weber's  own  work  is  a  realization  of  his  self-image 
as  a  cultivated  man  concerned  with  all  things  human.  And  the  decline  of 
the  humanist  and  the  ascendancy  of  the  expert  is  another  documentation 
for  Weber  of  the  diminished  chances  for  freedom. 

In  terms  of  these  two  types  of  men,  Weber  sees  modern  civilization 
as  unique  in  world  history.  Past  civilizations  produced  various  types  of 

*  See  chapter  viii,   'Bureaucracy.' 


humanist  elites:  in  China,  the  mandarin,  a  stratum  of  gentlemanly 
literati;  in  antiquity,  a  leisured  stratum  o£  athletic  and  cultured  men;  in 
England,  the  modern  conventional  gentlemen,  a  result  of  compromises 
between  'merry  old  England'  and  middle-class  Puritanism  consummated 
in  the  masculine  club;  in  Latin  civilizations,  the  French  cavalier  and  the 
Italian  cortegiano,  compromises  between  court  nobilities  and  urban  pa- 
tricians, consummated  in  the  salon  of  the  lady.  Such  cultivated  types 
are  now  unfit  for  the  management  of  economic  and  political  affairs;  they 
are  being  displaced  by  the  specialist  bureaucrat  and  the  professional  poli- 
tician. Weber  gave  little  weight  to  followers  of  artistic  and  literary  cult 
leaders,  who  must  belong  to  or  depend  upon  circles  of  rentiers,  or  else 
serve  the  literary  fashions  promoted  by  shrewd  publishers. 

In  contrast  to  the  liberalism  of  Kant  and  Fichte,  and  some  modern 
American  educators.  Max  Weber  saw  education  and  the  social  produc- 
tion of  personalities  as  dependent  upon  politics  and  economics.  His  pes- 
simism about  political  and  economic  freedom  is  thus  supplemented  by 
his  pessimism  about  the  realms  of  art,  cultivation,  and  the  personality 
types  possible  for  contemporary  man. 



IV.  Politics  as  a   Vocation 

This  lecture,  which  I  give  at  your  request,  will  necessarily  disappoint 
you  in  a  number  of  ways.  You  will  naturally  expect  me  to  take  a  posi- 
tion on  actual  problems  of  the  day.  But  that  will  be  the  case  only  in  a 
purely  formal  way  and  toward  the  end,  when  I  shall  raise  certain  ques- 
tions concerning  the  significance  of  political  action  in  the  whole  way  of 
life.  In  today's  lecture,  all  questions  that  refer  to  what  policy  and  what 
content  one  should  give  one's  political  activity  must  be  eliminated.  For 
such  questions  have  nothing  to  do  with  the  general  question  of  what 
politics  as  a  vocation  means  and  what  it  can  mean.  Now  to  our  subject 

What  do  we  understand  by  politics?  The  concept  is  extremely  broad 
and  comprises  any  kind  of  independent  leadership  in  action.  One  speaks 
of  the  currency  policy  of  the  banks,  of  the  discounting  policy  of  the 
Reichsbank,  of  the  strike  policy  of  a  trade  union;  one  may  speak  of  the 
educational  policy  of  a  municipality  or  a  township,  of  the  policy  of  the 
president  of  a  voluntary  association,  and,  finally,  even  of  the  policy  of  a 
prudent  wife  who  seeks  to  guide  her  husband.  Tonight,  our  reflections 
are,  of  course,  not  based  upon  such  a  broad  concept.  We  wish  to  under- 
stand by  politics  only  the  leadership,  or  the  influencing  of  the  leadership, 
of  a  political  association,  hence  today,  of  a  state. 

But  what  is  a  'political'  association  from  the  sociological  point  of  view? 
What  is  a  'state'?  Sociologically,  the  state  cannot  be  defined  in  terms  of 
its  ends.  There  is  scarcely  any  task  that  some  political  association  has  not 
taken  in  hand,  and  there  is  no  task  that  one  could  say  has  always  been 
exclusive  and  peculiar  to  those  associations  which  are  designated  as  po- 
litical ones:  today  the  state,  or  historically,  those  associations  which  have 
been  the  predecessors  of  the  modern  state.  Ultimately,  one  can  define 

'Politik  als  Beruf,'  Gesammelte  PoUtische  Schriften  (Muenchen,  1921),  pp.  396-450. 
Originally  a  speech  at  Munich  University,  191 8,  published  in  191 9  by  Duncker  &  Hum- 
blodt,  Munich. 



the  modern  state  sociologically  only  in  terms  o£  the  specific  means 
peculiar  to  it,  as  to  every  political  association,  namely,  the  use  of  physical 

'Every  state  is  founded  on  force,'  said  Trotsky  at  Brest-Litovsk.  That 
is  indeed  right.  If  no  social  institutions  existed  which  knew  the  use  of 
violence,  then  the  concept  of  'state'  would  be  eliminated,  and  a  condi- 
tion would  emerge  that  could  be  designated  as  'anarchy,'  in  the  specific 
sense  of  this  word.  Of  course,  force  is  certainly  not  the  normal  or  the 
only  means  of  the  state — nobody  says  that — but  force  is  a  means  specific 
to  the  state.  Today  the  relation  between  the  state  and  violence  is  an 
especially  intimate  one.  In  the  past,  the  most  varied  institutions — be- 
ginning with  the  sib — have  known  the  use  of  physical  force  as  quite 
normal.  Today,  however,  we  have  to  say  that  a  state  is  a  human  com- 
munity that  (successfully)  claims  the  monopoly  of  the  legitimate  use  of 
physical  force  within  a  given  territory.  Note  that  'territory'  is  one  of  the 
characteristics  of  the  state.  Specifically,  at  the  present  time,  the  right  to 
use  physical  force  is  ascribed  to  other  institutions  or  to  individuals  only 
'  to  the  extent  to  which  the  state  permits  it.  The  state  is  considered  the 
sole  source  of  the  'right'  to  use  violence.  Hence,  'politics'  for  us  means 
striving  to  share  power  or  striving  to  influence  the  distribution  of  power, 
either  among  states  or  among  groups  within  a  state. 

This  corresponds  essentially  to  ordinary  usage.  When  a  question  is  said 
to  be  a  'political'  question,  when  a  cabinet  minister  or  an  official  is  said 
to  be  a  'political'  official,  or  when  a  decision  is  said  to  be  'politically' 
determined,  what  is  always  meant  is  that  interests  in  the  distribution, 
maintenance,  or  transfer  of  power  are  decisive  for  answering  the  ques- 
tions and  determining  the  decision  or  the  official's  sphere  of  activity.  He 
who  is  active  in  politics  strives  for  power  either  as  a  means  in  serving 
other  aims,  ideal  or  egoistic,  or  as  'power  for  power's  sake,'  that  is,  in 
order  to  enjoy  the  prestige-feeling  that  power  gives. 

Like  the  political  institutions  historically  preceding  it,  the  state  is  a 
relation  of  men  dominating  men,  a  relation  supported  by  means  of  legiti- 
mate (i.e.  considered  to  be  legitimate)  violence.  If  the  state  is  to  exist, 
the  dominated  must  obey  the  authority  claimed  by  the  powers  that  be. 
When  and  why  do  men  obey?  Upon  what  inner  justifications  and  upon 
what  external  means  does  this  domination  rest? 

To  begin  with,  in  principle,  there  are  three  inner  justifications,  hence 
basic  legitimations  of  domination. 
First,  the  authority  of  the  'eternal  yesterday,'  i.e.  of  the  mores  sanctified 



through  the  unimaginably  ancient  recognition  and  habitual  orientation 
to  conform.  This  is  'traditionaT  jomination  exercised  by  the  patriarch 
and  the  patrimonial  prince  o£  yore. 

There  is  the  authority  of  the  extraordinary  and  personal  gift  of  grace 
(charisma),  the  absolutely  personal  devotion  and  personal  confidence  in 
revelation,  heroism,  or  other  qualities  of  individual  leadership.  This  is 
'charismatic'  domination,  as  exercised  by  the  prophet  or — in  the  field  of 
politics — by  the  elected  war  lord,  the  plebiscitarian  ruler,  the  great  dema- 
gogue, or  the  political  party  leader. 

Finally,  there  is  domination  by  virtue  of  'legality,'  by  virtue  of  the 
belief  in  the  validity  of  legal  statute  and  functional  'competence'  based 
on  rationally  created  rules.  In  this  case,  obedience  is  expected  in  dis- 
charging statutory  obligations.  This  is  domination  as  exercised  by  the 
modern  'servant  of  the  state'  and  by  all  those  bearers  of  power  who  in 
this  respect  resemble  him. 

It  is  understood  that,  in  reality,  obedience  is  determined  by  highly 
robust  motives  of  fear  and  hope — fear  of  the  vengeance  of  magical  powers 
or  of  the  power-holder,  hope  for  reward  in  this  world  or  in  the  beyond — 
and  besides  all  this,  by  interests  of  the  most  varied  sort.  Of  this  we  shall 
speak  presently.  However,  in  asking  for  the  'legitimations'  of  this 
obedience,  one  meets  with  these  threejpure' J^es :  'traditional,'  'charis- 
matic,' and  'legal.' 

These  conceptions  of  legitimacy  and  their  inner  justifications  are  of 
very  great  significance  for  the  structure  of  domination.  To  be  sure,  the 
pure  types  are  rarely  found  in  reality.  But  today  we  cannot  deal  with 
the  highly  complex  variants,  transitions,  and  combinations  of  these  pure 
types,  which  problems  belong  to  'political  science.'  Here  we  are  inter- 
ested above  all  in  the  second  of  these  types:  domination  by  virtue  of  the 
devotion  of  those  who  obey  the  purely  personal  'charisma'  of  the 
'leader.'  For  this  is  the  root  of  the  idea  of  a  calling  in  its  highest  ex- 

Devotion  to  the  charisma  of  the  prophet,  or  the  leader  in  war,  or  to 
the  great  demagogue  in  the  ecclesia  or  in  parliament,  means  that  the 
leader  is  personally  recognized  as  the  innerly  'called'  leader  of  men. 
Men  do  not  obey  him  by  virtue  of  tradition  or  statute,  but  because  they 
believe  in  him.  If  he  is  more  than  a  narrow  and  vain  upstart*  of  the 
moment,  the  leader  lives  for  his  cause  .and  'strives  for  his  work.'  ^  The 
devotion  of  his  disciples,  his  followers,  his  personal  party  friends  is 
oriented  to  his  person  and  to  its  qualities. 


Charismatic  leadership  has  emerged  in  all  places  and  in  all  historical 
epochs.  Most  importantly  in  the  past,  it  has  emerged  in  the  two  figures 
of  the  magician  and  the  prophet  on  the  one  hand,  and  in  the  elected 
war  lord,  the  gang  leader  and  condotierre  on  the  other  hand.  Political 
leadership  in  the  form  of  the  free  'demagogue'  who  grew  from  the  soil 
of  the  city  state  is  of  greater  concern  to  us;  like -the  city  state,  the  dema- 
gogue is  peculiar  to  the  Occident  and  especially  to  Mediterranean  cul- 
ture. Furthermore,  political  leadership  in  the  form  of  the  parliamentary 
'party  leader'  has  grown  on  the  soil  of  the  constitutional  state,  which 
is  also  indigenous  only  to  the  Occident. 

These  politicians  by  virtue  of  a  'calling,'  in  the  most  genuine  sense 
of  the  word,  are  of  course  nowhere  the  only  decisive  figures  in  the  cross- 
currents of  the  political  struggle  for  power.  The  sort  of  auxiliary  means 
that  are  at  their  disposal  is  also  highly  decisive.  How  do  the  politically 
dominant  powers  manage  to  maintain  their  domination?  The  question 
pertains  to  any  kind  of  domination,  hence  also  to  political  domination 
in  all  its  forms,  traditional  as  well  as  legal  and  charismatic. 

Organized  domination,  which  calls  for  continuous  administration,  re- 
quires that  human  conduct  be  conditioned  to  obedience  towards  those 
masters  who  claim  to  be  the  bearers  of  legitimate  power.  On  the  other 
hand,  by  virtue  of  this  obedience,  organized  domination  requires  the 
control  of  those  material  goods  which  in  a  given  case  are  necessary  for 
the  use  of  physical  violence.  Thus,  organized  domination  requires  con- 
trol of  the  personal  executive  staff  and  the  material  implements  of  ad- 

The  administrative  staff,  which  externally  represents  the  organization 
of  political  domination,  is,  of  course,  like  any  other  organization,  bound 
by  obedience  to  the  power-holder  and  not  alone  by  the  concept  of  legiti- 
macy, of  which  we  have  just  spoken.  There  are  two  other  means, 
both  of  which  appeal  to  personal  interests:  material  reward  and  social 
honor.  The  fiefs  of  vassals,  the  prebends  of  patrimonial  officials,  the 
salaries  of  modern  civil  servants,  the  honor  of  knights,  the  privileges  of 
estates,  and  the  honor  of  the  civil  servant  comprise  their  respective 
wages.  The  fear  of  losing  them  is  the  final  and  decisive  basis  for  soli- 
darity between  the  executive  staff  and  the  power-holder.  There  is  honor 
and  booty  for  the  followers  in  war;  for  the  demagogue's  following,  there 
are  'spoils' — that  is,  exploitation  of  the  dominated  through  the  monopo- 
lization   of    office — and    there    are    politically    determined    profits    and 


premiums  of  vanity.  All  of  these  rewards  are  also  derived  from  the 
domination  exercised  by  a  charismatic  leader. 

To  maintain  a  dominion  by  force,  certain  material  goods  are  required, 
just  as  with  an  economic  organization.  All  states  may  be  classified  accord- 
ing to  whether  they  rest  on  the  principle  that  the  staff  of  men  themselves 
own  the  administrative  means,  or  whether  the  staff  is  'separated'  from 
these  means  of  administration.  This  distinction  holds  in  the  same  sense 
in  which  today  we  say  that  the  salaried  employee  and  the  proletarian 
in  the  capitalistic  enterprise  are  'separated'  from  the  material  means  of 
production.  The  power-holder  must  be  able  to  count  on  the  obedience 
of  the  staff  members,'  officials,  or  whoever  else  they  may  be.  The  ad- 
ministrative means  may  consist  of  money,  building,  war  material,  ve- 
hicles, horses,  or  whatnot.  The  question  is  whether  or  not  the  power- 
holder  himself  directs  and  organizes  the  administration  while  delegating 
executive  power  to  personal  servants,  hired  officials,  or  personal  favor- 
ites and  confidants,  who  are  non-owners,  i.e.  who  do  not  use  the  mate- 
rial means  of  administration  in  their  own  right  but  are  directed  by  the 
lord.  The  distinction  runs  through  all  administrative  organizations  of 
the  past. 

These  political  associations  in  which  the  material  means  of  adminis- 
tration are  autonomously  controlled,  wholly  or  partly,  by  the  dependent 
administrative  staff  may  be  called  associations  organized  in  'estates.'  The 
vassal  in  the  feudal  association,  for  instance,  paid  out  of  his  own  pocket 
for  the  administration  and  judicature  of  the  district  enfeoffed  to  him. 
He  supplied  his  own  equipment  and  provisions  for  war,  and  his  sub- 
vassals  did  likewise.  Of  course,  this  had  consequences  for  the  lord's 
position  of  power,  which  only  rested  upon  a  relation  of  personal  faith 
and  upon  the  fact  that  the  legitimacy  of  his  possession  of  the  fief  and 
the  social  honor  of  the  vassal  were  derived  from  the  overlord. 

However,  everywhere,  reaching  back  to  the  earliest  political  forma- 
tions, we  also  find  the  lord  himself  directing  the  administration.  He  seeks 
to  take  the  administration  into  his  own  hands  by  having  men  personally 
dependent  upon  him:  slaves,  household  officials,  attendants,  personal 
'favorites,'  and  prebendaries  enfeoffed  in  kind  or  in  money  from  his 
magazines.  He  seeks  to  defray  the  expenses  from  his  own  pocket,  from 
the  revenues  of  his  patrimonium;  and  he  seeks  to  create  an  army  which 
is  dependent  upon  him  personally  because  it  is  equipped  and  provisioned 
out  of  his  granaries,  magazines,  and  armories.  In  the  association  of 
'estates,'  the  lord  rules  with  the  aid  of  an  autonomous  'aristocracy'  and 


hence  shares  his  domination  with  it;  the  lord  who  personally  administers 
is  supported  either  by  members  of  his  household  or  by  plebeians.  These 
are  property  less  strata  having  no  social  honor  of  their  own;  materially, 
they  are  completely  chained  to  him  and  are  not  backed  up  by  any  com- 
peting power  of  their  own.  All  forms  of  patriarchal  and  patrimonial 
domination,  Sultanist  despotism,  and  bureaucratic  states  belong  to  this 
latter  type.  The  bureaucratic  state  order  is  especially  important;  in  its 
most  rational  development,  it  is  precisely  characteristic  of  the  modern 

Everywhere  the  development  of  the  modern  state  is  initiated  through 
the  action  of  the  prince.  He  paves  the  way  for  the  expropriation  of  the 
autonomous  and  'private'  bearers  of  executive  power  who  stand  beside 
him,  of  those  who  in  their  own  right  possess  the  means  of  administration, 
warfare,  and  financial  organization,  as  well  as  politically  usable  goods  of 
all  sorts.  The  whole  process  is  a  complete  parallel  to  the  development 
of  the  capitalist  enterprise  through  gradual  expropriation  of  the  inde- 
pendent producers^  In  the  end,  the  modern  state  controls  the  total  means 
of  political  organization,  which  actually  come  together  under  a  single 
head.  No  single  official  personally  owns  the  money  he  pays  out,  or  the 
buildings,  stores,  tools,  and  war  machines  he  controls. 'In  the  contempo- 
rary 'state' — and  this  is  essential  for  the  concept  of  state-^the  'separation' 
of  the  administrative  staff,  of  the  administrative  officials,  and  of  the 
workers  from  the  material  means  of  administrative  organization  is  com- 
pleted. Here  the  most  modern  development  begins,  and  we  see  with  our 
own  eyes  the  attempt  to  inaugurate  the  expropriation  of  this  expropria- 
tor of  the  political  means,  and  therewith  of  political  power. 

The  revolution  [of  Germany,  191 8]  has  accomplished,  at  least  in  so  far 
as  leaders  have  taken  the  place  of  the  statutory  authorities,  this  much: 
the  leaders,  through  usurpation  or  election,  have  attained  control  over 
the  political  staff  and  the  apparatus  of  material  goods;  and  they  deduce 
their  legitimacy — no  matter  with  what  right — from  the  will  of  the  gov- 
erned. Whether  the  leaders,  on  the  basis  of  this  at  least  apparent  success, 
can  rightfully  entertain  the  hope  of  also  carrying  through  the  expropria- 
tion within  the  capitalist  enterprises  is  a  different  question.  The  direction 
of  capitalist  enterprises,  despite  far-reaching  analogies,  follows  quite 
different  laws  than  those  of  political  administration. 

Today  we  do  not  take  a  stand  on  this  question.  I  state  only  the  purely 
conceptual  aspect  for  our  consideration:  the  modern  state  is  a  compulsory 
association  which  organizes  domination.  It  has  been  successful  in  seeking 


to  monopolize  the  legitimate  use  o£  physical  force  as  a  means  of  domina- 
tion within  a  territory.  To  this  end  the  state  has  combined  the  material 
means  of  organization  in  the  hands  of  its  leaders,  and  it  has  expropriated 
all  autonomous  functionaries  of  estates  who  formerly  controlled  these 
means  in  their  own  right.  The  state  has  taken  their  positions  and  now 
stands  in  the  top  place. 

During  this  process  of  political  expropriation,  which  has  occurred  with 
varying  success  in  all  countries  on  earth,  'professional  politicians'  in  an- 
other sense  have  emerged.  They  arose  first  in  the  service  of  a  prince.  They 
have  been  men  who,  unlike  the  charismatic  leader,  have  not  wished  to 
be  lords  themselves,  but  who  have  entered  the  service  of  political  lords. 
In  the  struggle  of  expropriation,  they  placed  themselves  at  the  princes' 
disposal  and  by  managing  the  princes'  politics  they  earned,  on  the  one 
hand,  a  living  and,  on  the  other  hand,  an  ideal  content  of  life.  Again, 
it  is  only  in  the  Occident  that  we  find  this  kind  of  professional  politician 
in  the  service  of  powers  other  than  the  princes.  In  the  past,  they  have 
been  the  most  important  power  instrument  of  the  prince  and  his  instru- 
ment of  political  expropriation. 

Before  discussing  'professional  politicians'  in  detail,  let  us  clarify  in 
all  its  aspects  the  state  of  affairs  their  existence  presents.  Politics,  just  as 
economic  pursuits,  may  be  a  man's  avocation  or  his  vocation.  One  may 
engage  in  politics,  and  hence  seek  to  influence  the  distribution  of  power 
within  and  between  political  structures,  as  an  'occasional'  politician.  We 
are  all  'occasional'  politicians  when  we  cast  our  ballot  or  consummate  a 
similar  expression  of  intention,  such  as  applauding  or  protesting  in  a 
'political'  meeting,  or  delivering  a  'political'  speech,  etc.  The  whole  rela- 
tion of  many  people  to  politics  is  restricted  to  this.  Politics  as  an  avocation 
is  today  practiced  by  all  those  party  agents  and  heads  of  voluntary  po- 
litical associations  who,  as  a  rule,  are  politically  active  only  in  case  of 
need  and  for  whom  politics  is,  neither  materially  nor  ideally,  'their  life' 
in  the  first  place.  The  same  holds  for  those  members  of  state  counsels 
and  similar  deliberative  bodies  that  function  only  when  summoned.  It 
also  holds  for  rather  broad  strata  of  our  members  of  parliament  who  are 
politically  active  only  during  sessions.  In  the  past,  such  strata  were 
found  especially  among  the  estates.  Proprietors  of  military  implements 
in  their  own  right,  or  proprietors  of  goods  important  for  the  administra- 
tion, or  proprietors  of  personal  prerogatives  may  be  called  'estates.'  A 
large  portion  of  them  were  far  from  giving  their  lives  wholly,  or  merely 
preferentially,  or  more  than  occasionally,  to  the  service  of  politics.  Rather, 



they  exploited  their  prerogatives  in  the  interest  of  gaining  rent  or  even 
profits;  and  they  became  active  in  the  service  of  poHtical  associations 
only  when  the  overlord  of  their  status-equals  especially  demanded  it.  It 
was  not  different  in  the  case  of  some  of  the  auxiliary  forces  which  the 
prince  drew  into  the  struggle  for  the  creation  of  a  political  organization 
to  be  exclusively  at  his  disposal.  This  was  the  nature  of  the  Rate  von 
Hans  aus  [councilors]  and,  still  further  back,  of  a  considerable  part  of 
the  councilors  assembling  in  the  'Curia'  and  other  deliberating  bodies  of 
the  princes.  But  these  merely  occasional  auxiliary  forces  engaging  in 
politics  on  the  side  were  naturally  not  sufficient  for  the  prince.  Of  neces- 
sity, the  prince  sought  to  create  a  staflF  of  helpers  dedicated  wholly  and 
exclusively  to  serving  him,  hence  making  this  their  major  vocation.  The 
structure  of  the  emerging  dynastic  political  organization,  and  not  only 
this  but  the  whole  articulation  of  the  culture,  depended  to  a  considerable 
degree  upon  the  question  of  where  the  prince  recruited  agents. 

A  staff  was  also  necessary  for  those  political  associations  whose  mem- 
bers constituted  themselves  politically  as  (so-called)  'free'  communes  un- 
der the  complete  abolition  or  the  far-going  restriction  of  princely  power. 

They  were  'free'  not  in  the  sense  of  freedom  from  domination  by 
force,  but  in  the  sense  that  princely  power  legitimized  by  tradition 
(mostly  religiously  sanctified)  as  the  exclusive  source  of  all  authority  was 
absent.  These  communities  have  their  historical  home  in  the  Occident. 
Their  nucleus  was  the  city  as  a  body  politic,  the  form  in  which  the  city 
first  emerged  in  the  Mediterranean  culture  area.  In  all  these  cases,  what 
did  the  politicians  who  made  politics  their  major  vocation  look  like? 

There  are  two  ways  of  making  politics  one's  vocation:  Either  one 
lives  'for'  politics  or  one  lives  'off'  politics.  By  no  means  is  this  contrast 
an  exclusive  one.  The  rule  is,  rather,  that  man  does  both,  at  least  in 
thought,  and  certainly  he  also  does  both  in  practice.  He  who  lives  'for' 
poHtics  makes  politics  his  life,  in  an  internal  sense.  Either  he  enjoys  the 
naked  possession  of  the  power  he  exerts,  or  he  nourishes  his  inner  balance 
and  self-feeling  by  the  consciousness  that  his  life  has  meaning  in  the 
service  of  a  'cause.'  In  this  internal  sense,  every  sincere  man  who  lives 
for  a  cause  also  lives  off  this  cause.  The  distinction  hence  refers  to  a 
much  more  substantial  aspect  of  the  matter,  namely,  to  the  economic.  He 
who  strives  to  make  politics  a  permanent  source  of  income  lives  'off' 
politics  as  a  vocation,  whereas  he  who  does  not  do  this  lives  'for'  politics. 
Under  the  dominance  of  the  private  property  order,  some — if  you  wish — 


very  trivial  preconditions  must  exist  in  order  for  a  person  to  be  able  to 
live  'for'  politics  in  this  economic  sense.  Under  normal  conditions,  the 
politician  must  be  economically  independent  of  the  income  politics  can 
bring  him.  This  means,  quite  simply,  that  the  politician  must  be  wealthy 
or  must  have  a  personal  position  in  life  which  yields  a  sufficient  income. 

This  is  the  case,  at  least  in  normal  circumstances.  The  war  lord's  fol- 
lowing is  just  as  Uttle  concerned  about  the  conditions  of  a  normal 
economy  as  is  the  street  crowd  following  of  the  revolutionary  hero. 
Both  hve  oflf  booty,  plunder,  confiscations,  contributions,  and  the  imposi- 
tion of  worthless  and  compulsory  means  of  tender,  which  in  essence 
amounts  to  the  same  thing.  But  necessarily,  these  are  extraordinary 
phenomena.  In  everyday  economic  life,  only  some  wealth  serves  the 
purpose  of  making  a  man  economically  independent.  Yet  this  alone  does 
not  suffice.  The  professional  politician  must  also  be  economically  'dis- 
pensable,' that  is,  his  income  must  not  depend  upon  the  fact  that  he 
constantly  and  personally  places  his  ability  and  thinking  entirely,  or  at 
least  by  far  predominantly,  in  the  service  of  economic  acquisition.  In 
the  most  unconditional  way,  the  rentier  is  dispensable  in  this  sense. 
Hence,  he  is  a  man  who  receives  completely  unearned  income.  He  may 
be  the  territorial  lord  of  the  past  or  the  large  landowner  and  aristocrat 
of  the  present  who  receives  ground  rent.  In  Antiquity  and  the  Middle 
Ages  they  who  received  slave  or  serf  rents  or  in  modern  times  rents 
from  shares  or  bonds  or  similar  sources — these  are  rentiers. 

Neither  the  worker  nor — and  this  has  to  be  noted  well — the  entre- 
preneur, especially  the  modern,  large-scale  entrepreneur,  is  economically 
dispensable  in  this  sense.  For  it  is  precisely  the  entrepreneur  who  is  tied 
to  his  enterprise  and  is  therefore  not  dispensable.  This  holds  for  the 
entrepreneur  in  industry  far  more  than  for  the  entrepreneur  in  agricul- 
ture, considering  the  seasonal  character  of  agriculture.  In  the  main,  it  is 
very  difficult  for  the  enterpreneur  to  be  represented  in  his  enterprise 
by  someone  else,  even  temporarily.  He  is  as  little  dispensable  as  is  the 
medical  doctor,  and  the  more  eminent  and  busy  he  is  the  less  dispensable 
he  is.  For  purely  organizational  reasons,  it  is  easier  for  the  lawyer  to 
be  dispensable;  and  therefore  the  lawyer  has  played  an  incomparably 
greater,  and  often  even  a  dominant,  role  as  a  professional  politician.  We 
shall  not  continue  in  this  classification;  rather  let  us  clarify  some  of  its 

The  leadership  of  a  state  or  of  a  party  by  men  who  (in  the  economic 
sense  of  the  word)  live  exclusively  for  politics  and  not  off  politics  means 


necessarily  a  'plutocratic'  recruitment  of  the  leading  political  strata.  To 
be  sure,  this  does  not  mean  that  such  plutocratic  leadership  signifies  at 
the  same  time  that  the  politically  dominant  strata  will  not  also  seek  to 
live  'off  politics,  and  hence  that  the  dominant  stratum  will  not  usually 
exploit  their  political  domination  in  their  own  economic  interest.  All  that 
is  unquestionable,  of  course.  There  has  never  been  such  a  stratum  that 
has  not  somehow  lived  'off  politics.  Only  this  is  meant:  that  the  profes- 
sional politician  need  not  seek  remuneration  directly  for  his  political 
work,  whereas  every  politician  without  means  must  absolutely  claim  this. 
On  the  other  hand,  we  do  not  mean  to  say  that  the  propertyless  politician 
will  pursue  private  economic  advantages  through  politics,  exclusively,  or 
even  predominantly.  Nor  do  we  mean  that  he  will  not  think,  in  the 
first  place,  of  'the  subject  matter.'  Nothing  would  be  more  incorrect.  Ac- 
cording to  all  experience,  a  care  for  the  economic  'security'  of  his  exist- 
ence is  consciously  or  unconsciously  a  cardinal  point  in  the  whole  life 
orientation  of  the  wealthy  man.  A  quite  reckless  and  unreserved  political 
ideaHsm  is  found  if  not  exclusively  at  least  predominantly  among  those 
strata  who  by  virtue  of  their  propertylessness  stand  entirely  outside  of 
the  strata  who  are  interested  in  maintaining  the  economic  order  of  a 
given  society.  This  holds  especially  for  extraordinary  and  hence  revolu- 
tionary epochs.  A  non-plutocratic  recruitment  of  interested  politicians,  of 
leadership  and  following,  is  geared  to  the  self-understood  precondition 
that  regular  and  reliable  income  will  accrue  to  those  who  manage 

Either  politics  can  be  conducted  'honorifically'  and  then,  as  one  usually 
says,  by  'independent,'  that  is,  by  wealthy,  men,  and  especially  by 
rentiers.  Or,  political  leadership  is  made  accessible  to  propertyless  men 
who  must  then  be  rewarded.  The  professional  politician  who  lives  'off 
politics  may  be  a  pure  'prebendary'  or  a  salaried  'official.'  Then  the  poli- 
tician receives  either  income  from  fees  and  perquisites  for  specific  serv- 
ices— tips  and  bribes  are  only  an  irregular  and  formally  illegal  variant 
of  this  category  of  income — or  a  fixed  income  in  kind,  a  money  salary, 
or  both.  He  may  assume  the  character  of  an  'entrepreneur,'  like  the 
condottiere  or  the  holder  of  a  farmed-out  or  purchased  office,  or  like  the 
American  boss  who  considers  his  costs  a  capital  investment  which  he 
brings  to  fruition  through  exploitation  of  his  influence.  Again,  he  may 
receive  a  fixed  wage,  like  a  journalist,  a  party  secretary,  a  modern  cabinet 
minister,  or  a  political  official.  Feudal  fiefs,  land  grants,  and  prebends  of 
all  sorts  have  been  typical,  in  the  past.  With  the  development  of  the 


money  economy,  perquisites  and  prebends  especially  are  the  typical  re- 
wards for  the  following  of  princes,  victorious  conquerors,  or  successful 
party  chiefs.  For  loyal  services  today,  party  leaders  give  offices  of  all  sorts 
— in  parties,  newspapers,  co-operative  societies,  health  insurance,  munici- 
paUties,  as  well  as  in  the  state.  All  party  struggles  are  struggles  for  the 
patronage  of  office,  as  well  as  struggles  for  objective  goals. 

In  Germany,  all  struggles  between  the  proponents  of  local  and  of 
central  government  are  focused  upon  the  question  of  which  powers  shall 
control  the  patronage  of  office,  whether  they  are  of  Berlin,  Munich, 
Karlsruhe,  or  Dresden.  Setbacks  in  participating  in  offices  are  felt  more 
severely  by  parties  than  is  action  against  their  objective  goals.  In  France, 
a  turnover  of  prefects  because  of  party  politics  has  always  been  con- 
sidered a  greater  transformation  and  has  always  caused  a  greater  uproar 
than  a  modification  in  the  government's  program — the  latter  almost  hav- 
ing the  significance  of  mere  verbiage.  Some  parties,  especially  those  in 
America  since  the  disappearance  of  the  old  conflicts  concerning  the  inter- 
pretation of  the  constitution,  have  become  pure  patronage  parties  hand- 
ing out  jobs  and  changing  their  material  program  according  to  the  chances 
of  grabbing  votes. 

In  Spain,  up  to  recent  years,  the  two  great  parties,  in  a  conventionally 
fixed  manner,  took  turns  in  office  by  means  of  'elections,'  fabricated  from 
above,  in  order  to  provide  their  followers  with  offices.  In  the  Spanish 
colonial  territories,  in  the  so-called  'elections,'  as  well  as  in  the  so-called 
'revolutions,'  what  was  at  stake  was  always  the  state  bread-basket  from 
which  the  victors  wished  to  be  fed. 

In  Switzerland,  the  parties  peacefully  divided  the  offices  among  them- 
selves proportionately,  and  some  of  our  'revolutionary'  constitutional 
drafts,  for  instance  the  first  draft  of  the  Badenian  constitution,  sought 
to  extend  this  system  to  ministerial  positions.  Thus,  the  state  and  state 
offices  were  considered  as  pure  institutions  for  the  provision  of  spoilsmen. 

Above  all,  the  Catholic  Center  party  was  enthusiastically  for  this  draft. 
In  Badenia,  the  party,  as  part  of  the  party  platform,  made  the  distribution 
of  offices  proportional  to  confessions  and  hence  without  regard  to  achieve- 
ment. This  tendency  becomes  stronger  for  all  parties  when  the  number 
of  offices  increase  as  a  result  of  general  bureaucratization  and  when  the 
demand  for  offices  increases  because  they  represent  specifically  secure 
livelihoods.  For  their  followings,  the  parties  become  more  and  more  a 
means  to  the  end  of  being  provided  for  in  this  manner. 

The  development  of  modern  officialdom  into  a  highly  qualified,  pro- 


fessional  labor  force,  specialized  in  expertness  through  long  years  of 
preparatory  training,  stands  opposed  to  all  these  arrangements.  Modern 
bureaucracy  in  the  interest  of  integrity  has  developed  a  high  sense  of 
status  honor;  without  this  sense  the  danger  of  an  awful  corruption  and 
a  vulgar  Philistinism  threatens  fatally.  And  without  such  integrity,  even 
the  purely  technical  functions  of  the  state  apparatus  would  be  endan- 
gered. The  significance  of  the  state  apparatus  for  the  economy  has  been 
steadily  rising,  especially  with  increasing  socialization,  and  its  significance 
will  be  further  augmented. 

In  the  United  States,  amateur  administration  through  booty  politicians 
in  accordance  with  the  outcome  of  presidential  elections  resulted  in  the 
exchange  of  hundreds  of  thousands  of  officials,  even  down  to  the  mail 
carrier.  The  administration  knew  nothing  of  the  professional  civil- 
servant-for-life,  but  this  amateur  administration  has  long  since  been 
punctured  by  the  Civil  Service  Reform.  Purely  technical,  irrefrageable 
needs  of  the  administration  have  determined  this  development. 

In  Europe,  expert  officialdom,  based  on  the  division  of  labor,  has 
emerged  in  a  gradual  development  of  half  a  thousand  years.  The  Italian 
cities  and  seigniories  were  the  beginning,  among  the  monarchies,  and 
the  states  of  the  Norman  conquerors.  But  the  decisive  step  was  taken 
in  connection  with  the  administration  of  the  finances  of  the  prince.  With 
the  administrative  reforms  of  Emperor  Max,  it  can  be  seen  how  hard  it 
was  for  the  officials  to  depose  successfully  of  the  prince  in  this  field,  even 
under  the  pressure  of  extreme  emergency  and  of  Turkish  rule.  The 
sphere  of  finance  could  afford  least  of  all  a  ruler's  dilettantism — a  ruler 
who  at  that  time  was  still  above  all  a  knight.  The  development  of  war 
technique  called  forth  the  expert  and  specialized  officer;  the  differentia- 
tion of  legal  procedure  called  forth  the  trained  jurist.  In  these  three 
areas — finance,  war,  and  law — expert  officialdom  in  the  more  advanced 
states  was  definitely  triumphant  during  the  sixteenth  century.  With  the 
ascendancy  of  princely  absolutism  over  the  estates,  there  was  simultane- 
ously a  gradual  abdication  of  the  prince's  autocratic  rule  in  favor  of  an 
expert  officialdom.  These  very  officials  had  only  facilitated  the  prince's 
victory  over  the  estates. 

The  development  of  the  'leading  politicians'  was  realized  along  with 
the  ascendancy  of  the  specially  trained  officialdom,  even  if  in  far  less 
noticeable  transitions.  Of  course,  such  really  decisive  advisers  of  the 
princes  have  existed  at  all  times  and  all  over  the  world.  In  the  Orient, 
the  need  for  relieving  the  Sultan  as  far  as  possible  from  personal  respon- 


sibility  for  the  success  of  the  government  has  created  the  typical  figure 
of  the  'Grand  Vizier.'  In  the  Occident,  influenced  above  all  by  the  reports 
of  the  Venetian  legates,  diplomacy  first  became  a  consciously  cultivated 
art  in  the  age  of  Charles  V,  in  Machiavelli's  time.  The  reports  of  the 
Venetian  legates  were  read  with  passionate  zeal  in  expert  diplomatic 
circles.  The  adepts  of  this  art,  who  were  in  the  main  educated  humanis- 
tically, treated  one  another  as  trained  initiates,  similar  to  the  humanist 
Chinese  statesmen  in  the  last  period  of  the  warring  states.  The  neces- 
sity of  a  formally  unified  guidance  of  the  whole  policy,  including  that 
of  home  affairs,  by  a  leading  statesman  finally  and  compellingly  arose 
only  through  constitutional  development.  Of  course,  individual  personal- 
ities, such  as  advisers  of  the  princes,  or  rather,  in  fact,  leaders,  had 
again  and  again  existed  before  then.  But  the  organization  of  adminis- 
trative agencies  even  in  the  most  advanced  states  first  proceeded  along 
other  avenues.  Top  collegial  administrative  agencies  had  emerged.  In 
theory,  and  to  a  gradually  decreasing  extent  in  fact,  they  met  under  the 
personal  chairmanship  of  the  prince  who  rendered  the  decision.  This 
collegial  system  led  to  memoranda,  counter-memoranda,  and  reasoned 
votes  of  the  majority  and  the  minority.  In  addition  to  the  official  and 
highest  authorities,  the  prince  surrounded  himself  with  purely  personal 
confidants — the  'cabinet' — and  through  them  rendered  his  decisions,  after 
considering  the  resolutions  of  the  state  counsel,  or  whatever  else  the 
highest  state  agency  was  called.  The  prince,  coming  more  and  more  into 
the  position  of  a  dilettante,  sought  to  extricate  himself  from  the  unavoid- 
ably increasing  weight  of  the  expertly  trained  officials  through  the  col- 
legial system  and  the  cabinet.  He  sought  to  retain  the  highest  leadership 
in  his  own  hands.  This  latent  struggle  betv/een  expert  officialdom  and 
autocratic  rule  existed  everywhere.  Only  in  the  face  of  parliaments  and 
the  power  aspirations  of  party  leaders  did  the  situation  change.  Very 
different  conditions  led  to  the  externally  identical  result,  though  to  be 
sure  with  certain  differences.  Wherever  the  dynasties  retained  actual 
power  in  their  hands — as  was  especially  the  case  in  Germany — the  inter- 
ests of  the  prince  were  joined  with  those  of  officialdom  against  parlia- 
ment and  its  claims  for  power.  The  officials  were  also  interested  in  hav- 
ing leading  positions,  that  is,  ministerial  positions,  occupied  by  their  own 
ranks,  thus  making  these  positions  an  object  of  the  official  career.  The 
monarch,  on  his  part,  was  interested  in  being  able  to  appoint  the  min- 
isters from  the  ranks  of  devoted  officials  according  to  his  own  discretion. 
Both  parties,  however,  were  interested  in  seeing  the  political  leadership 


confront  parliament  in  a  unified  and  solidary  fashion,  and  hence  in 
seeing  the  collegial  system  replaced  by  a  single  cabinet  head.  Further- 
more, in  order  to  be  removed  in  a  purely  formal  way  from  the  struggle 
of  parties  and  from  party  attacks,  the  monarch  needed  a  single  person- 
ality to  cover  him  and  to  assume  responsibility,  that  is,  to  answer  to  par- 
liament and  to  negotiate  with  the  parties.  All  these  interests  worked 
together  and  in  the  same  direction:  a  minister  emerged  to  direct  the 
officialdom  in  a  unified  way. 

Where  parliament  gained  supremacy  over  the  monarch — as  in  England 
— the  development  of  parliamentary  power  worked  even  more  strongly 
in  the  direction  of  a  unification  of  the  state  apparatus.  In  England,  the 
'cabinet,'  with  the  single  head  of  Parliament  as  its  'leader,'  developed 
as  a  committee  of  the  party  which  at  the  time  controlled  the  majority. 
This  party  power  was  ignored  by  official  law  but,  in  fact,  it  alone  was 
politically  decisive.  The  official  collegial  bodies  as  such  were  not  organs 
of  the  actual  ruling  power,  the  party,  and  hence  could  not  be  the  bearers 
of  real  government.  The  ruling  party  required  an  ever-ready  organiza- 
tion composed  only  of  its  actually  leading  men,  who  would  confidentially 
discuss  matters  in  order  to  maintain  power  within  and  be  capable  of 
engaging  in  grand  politics  outside.  The  cabinet  is  simply  this  organi- 
zation. However,  in  relation  to  the  public,  especially  the  parliamentary 
public,  the  party  needed  a  leader  responsible  for  all  decisions — the  cabinet 
head.  The  English  system  has  been  taken  over  on  the  Continent  in  the 
form  of  parliamentary  ministries.  In  America  alone,  and  in  the  de- 
mocracies influenced  by  America,  a  quite  heterogeneous  system  was 
placed  into  opposition  with  this  system.  The  American  system  placed 
the  directly  and  popularly  elected  leader  of  the  victorious  party  at  the  head 
of  the  apparatus  of  officials  appointed  by  him  and  bound  him  to  the 
consent  of  'parliament'  only  in  budgetary  and  legislative  matters.' 

The  development  of  politics  into  an  organization  which  demanded 
training  in  the  struggle  for  power,  and  in  the  methods  of  this  struggle 
as  developed  by  modern  party  policies,  determined  the  separation  of 
public  functionaries  into  two  categories,  which,  however,  are  by  no 
means  rigidly  but  nevertheless  distinctly  separated.  These  categories  are 
'administrative'  officials  on  the  one  hand,  and  'political'  officials  on  the 
other.  The  'political'  officials,  in  the  genuine  sense  of  the  word,  can 
regularly  and  externally  be  recognized  by  the  fact  that  they  can  be 
transferred  any  time  at  will,  that  they  can  be  dismissed,  or  at  least 
temporarily  withdrawn.  They  are  like  the  French  prefects  and  the  com- 


parable  officials  of  other  countries,  and  this  is  in  sharp  contrast  to  the 
'independence'  of  officials  with  judicial  functions.  In  England,  officials 
who,  according  to  fixed  convention,  retire  from  office  when  there  is  a 
change  in  the  parliamentary  majority,  and  hence  a  change  in  the  cabi- 
net, belong  to  this  category.  There  are  usually  among  them  some  whose 
competence  includes  the  management  of  the  general  'inner  administra- 
tion.' The  political  element  consists,  above  all,  in  the  task  of  maintaining 
'law  and  order'  in  the  country,  hence  maintaining  the  existing  power  re- 
lations. In  Prussia  these  officials,  in  accordance  with  Puttkamer's  decree 
and  in  order  to  avoid  censure,  were  obliged  to  'represent  the  policy  of 
the  government.'  And,  like  the  prefects  in  France,  they  were  used  as  an 
official  apparatus  for  influencing  elections.  Most  of  the  'political'  officials 
of  the  German  system — in  contrast  to  other  countries — were  equally 
qualified  in  so  far  as  access  to  these  offices  required  a  university  educa- 
tion, special  examinations,  and  special  preparatory  service.  In  Germany, 
only  the  heads  of  the  poHtical  apparatus,  the  ministers,  lack  this  specific 
characteristic  of  modern  civil  service.  Even  under  the  old  regime,  one 
could  be  the  Prussian  minister  of  education  without  ever  having  at- 
tended an  institution  of  higher  learning;  whereas  one  could  become 
V ortragender  Rat^  in  principle,  only  on  the  basis  of  a  prescribed  exami- 
nation. The  specialist  and  trained  Dezernent^  and*  V ortragender  Rat 
were  of  course  infinitely  better  informed  about  the  real  technical  prob- 
lems of  the  division  than  was  their  respective  chief — for  instance,  under 
Althofl  in  the  Prussian  ministry  of  education.  In  England  it  was  not 
different.  Consequently,  in  all  routine  demands  the  divisional  head  was 
more  powerful  than  the  minister,  which  was  not  without  reason.  The 
minister  was  simply  the  representative  of  the  political  power  constella- 
tion; he  had  to  represent  these  powerful  political  staffs  and  he  had  to 
take  measure  of  the  proposals  of  his  subordinate  expert  officials  or  give 
them  directive  orders  of  a  political  nature. 

After  all,  things  in  a  private  economic  enterprise  are  quite  similar:  the 
real  'sovereign,'  the  assembled  shareholders,  is  just  as  little  influential  in 
the  business  management  as  is  a  'people'  ruled  by  expert  officials.  And 
the  personages  who  decide  the  policy  of  the  enterprise,  the  bank-con- 
trolled 'directorate,'  give  only  directive  economic  orders  and  select  persons 
for  the  management  without  themselves  being  capable  of  technically 
directing  the  enterprise.  Thus  the  present  structure  of  the  revolutionary 
state  signifies  nothing  new  in  principle.  It  places  power  over  the  admin- 
istration into  the  hands  of  absolute  dilettantes,  who,  by  virtue  of  their 


control  o£  the  machine-guns,  would  hke  to  use  expert  officials  only  as 
executive  heads  and  hands.  The  difficulties  of  the  present  system  lie  else- 
where than  here,  but  today  these  difficulties  shall  not  concern  us.  We 
shall,  rather,  ask  for  the  typical  peculiarity  of  the  professional  politicians, 
of  the  'leaders'  as  well  as  their  followings.  Their  nature  has  changed  and 
today  varies  greatly  from  one  case  to  another. 

We  have  seen  that  in  the  past  'professional  politicians'  developed 
through  the  struggle  of  the  princes  with  the  estates  and  that  they  served 
the  princes.  Let  us  briefly  review  the  major  types  of  these  professional 

Confronting  the  estates,  the  prince  found  support  in  politically  exploit- 
able strata  outside  of  the  order  of  the  estates.  Among  the  latter,  there  was, 
first,  the  clergy  in  Western  and  Eastern  India,  in  Buddhist  China  and 
Japan,  and  in  Lamaist  Mongolia,  just  as  in  the  Christian  territories  of  the 
Middle  Ages.  The  clergy  were  technically  useful  because  they  were 
literate.  The  importation  of  Brahmins,  Buddhist  priests.  Lamas,  and  the 
employment  of  bishops  and  priests  as  political  counselors,  occurred  with 
an  eye  to  obtaining  administrative  forces  who  could  read  and  write  and 
who  could  be  used  in  the  struggle  of  the  emperor,  prince,  or  Khan 
against  the  aristocracy.  Unlike  the  vassal  who  confronted  his  overlord, 
the  cleric,  especially  the  celibate  cleric,  stood  outside  the  machinery  of 
normal  political  and  economic  interests  and  was  not  tempted  by  the 
struggle  for  political  power,  for  himself  or  for  his  descendants.  By  virtue 
of  his  own  status,  the  cleric  was  'separated'  from  the  managerial  imple- 
ments of  princely  administration. 

The  humanistically  educated  literati  comprised  a  second  such  stratum. 
There  was  a  time  when  one  learned  to  produce  Latin  speeches  and 
Greek  verses  in  order  to  become  a  political  adviser  to  a  prince  and, 
above  all  things,  to  become  a  memorialist.  This  was  the  time  of  the  first 
flowering  of  the  humanist  schools  and  of  the  princely  foundations  of 
professorships  for  'poetics.'  This  was  for  us  a  transitory  epoch,  which  has 
had  a  quite  persistent  influence  upon  our  educational  system,  yet  no 
deeper  results  politically.  In  East  Asia,  it  has  been  different.  The  Chinese 
mandarin  is,  or  rather  originally  was,  what  the  humanist  of  our  Renais- 
sance period  approximately  was:  a  literator  humanistically  trained  and 
tested  in  the  language  monuments  of  the  remote  past.  When  you  read 
the  diaries  of  Li  Hung  Chang  you  will  find  that  he  is  most  proud  of 
having  composed  poems  and  of  being  a  good  calligrapher.  This  stratum, 
with  its  conventions  developed  and  modeled  after  Chinese  Antiquity,  has 


determined  the  whole  destiny  of  China;  and  perhaps  our  fate  would  have 
been  similar  if  the  humanists  in  their  time  had  had  the  slightest  chance 
of  gaining  a  similar  influence. 

The  third  stratum  was  the  court  nobility.  After  the  princes  had  suc- 
ceeded in  expropriating  political  power  from  the  nobility  as  an  estate, 
they  drew  the  nobles  to  the  court  and  used  them  in  their  political  and 
diplomatic  service.  The  transformation  of  our  educational  system  in 
the  seventeenth  century  was  partly  determined  by  the  fact  that  court 
nobles  as  professional  politicians  displaced  the  humanist  literati  and 
entered  the  service  of  the  princes. 

The  fourth  category  was  a  specifically  English  institution.  A  patrician 
stratum  developed  there  which  was  comprised  of  the  petty  nobility  and 
the  urban  rentiers;  technically  they  are  called  the  'gentry.'  The  English 
gentry  represents  a  stratum  that  the  prince  originally  attracted  in  order 
to  counter  the  barons.  The  prince  placed  the  stratum  in  possession  of  the 
offices  of  'self-government,'  and  later  he  himself  became  increasingly 
dependent  upon  them.  The  gentry  maintained  the  possession  of  all  offices 
of  local  administration  by  taking  them  over  without  compensation  in  the 
interest  of  their  own  social  power.  The  gentry  has  saved  England  from 
the  bureaucratization  which  has  been  the  fate  of  all  continental  states. 

A  fifth  stratum,  the  university-trained  jurist,  is  peculiar  to  the  Occi- 
dent, especially  to  the  European  continent,  and  has  been  of  decisive 
significance  for  the  Continent's  whole  political  structure.  The  tremendous 
after-efFect  of  Roman  law,  as  transformed  by  the  late  Roman  bureau- 
cratic state,  stands  out  in  nothing  more  clearly  than  the  fact  that  every- 
where the  revolution  of  political  management  in  the  direction  of  the 
evolving  rational  state  has  been  borne  by  trained  jurists.  This  also  oc- 
curred in  England,  although  there  the  great  national  guilds  of  jurists 
hindered  the  reception  of  Roman  law.  There  is  no  analogy  to  this  process 
to  be  found  in  any  area  of  the  world. 

All  beginnings  of  rational  juristic  thinking  in  the  Indian  Mimamsa 
School  and  all  further  cultivation  of  the  ancient  juristic  thinking  in 
Islam  have  been  unable  to  prevent  the  idea  of  rational  law  from  being 
overgrown  by  theological  forms  of  thought.  Above  all,  legal  trial  pro- 
cedure has  not  been  fully  rationalized  in  the  cases  of  India  and  of 
Islamism.  Such  rationalization  has  been  brought  about  on  the  Conti- 
nent only  through  the  borrowing  of  ancient  Roman  jurisprudence  by 
the  Italian  jurists.  Roman  jurisprudence  is  the  product  of  a  political 
structure  arising  from  the  city  state  to  world  domination — a  product 


of  quite  unique  nature.  The  usus  modernus  of  the  late  medieval  pandect 
jurists  and  canonists  was  blended  with  theories  of  natural  law,  which 
were  born  from  juristic  and  Christian  thought  and  which  were  later 
secularized.  This  juristic  rationalism  has  had  its  great  representatives 
among  the  ItaHan  Podesta,  the  French  crown  jurists  (who  created  the 
formal  means  for  the  undermining  of  the  rule  of  seigneurs  by  royal 
power),  among  the  canonists  and  the  theologians  of  the  ecclesiastic 
councils  (thinking  in  terms  of  natural  law),  among  the  court  jurists 
and  academic  judges  of  the  continental  princes,  among  the  Netherland 
teachers  of  natural  law  and  the  monarchomachists,  among  the  English 
crown  and  parliamentary  jurists,  among  the  noblesse  de  robe  of  the 
French  Parliament,  and  finally,  among  the  lawyers  of  the  age  of  the 
French  Revolution. 

Without  this  juristic  rationalism,  the  rise  of  the  absolute  state  is  just 
as  little  imaginable  as  is  the  Revolution.  If  you  look  through  the 
remonstrances  of  the  French  Parliaments  or  through  the  cahiers  of  the 
French  Estates-General  from  the  sixteenth  century  to  the  year  1789, 
you  will  find  everywhere  the  spirit  of  the  jurists.  And  if  you  go  over 
the  occupational  composition  of  the  members  of  the  French  Assembly, 
you  will  find  there — although  the  members  of  the  Assembly  were  elected 
through  equal  franchise — a  single  proletarian,  very  few  bourgeois  enter- 
prisers, but  jurists  of  all  sorts,  en  fnasse.  Without  them,  the  specific  men- 
tality that  inspired  these  radical  intellectuals  and  their  projects  would  be 
quite  inconceivable.  Since  the  French  Revolution,  the  modern  lawyer 
and  modern  democracy  absolutely  belong  together.  And  lawyers,  in  our 
sense  of  an  independent  status  group,  also  exist  only  in  the  Occident. 
They  have  developed  since  the  Middle  Ages  from  the  Fiirsprech  of  the 
formalistic  Germanic  legal  procedure  under  the  impact  of  the  rationali- 
zation of  the  trial. 

The  significance  of  the  lawyer  in  Occidental  politics  since  the  rise 
of  parties  is  not  accidental.  The  management  of  politics  through  parties 
simply  means  management  through  interest  groups.  We  shall  soon  see 
what  that  means.  The  craft  of  the  trained  lawyer  is  to  plead  effectively 
the  cause  of  interested  clients.  In  this,  the  lawyer  is  superior  to  any  'offi- 
cial,' as  the  superiority  of  enemy  propaganda  [Allied  propaganda  1914-18] 
could  teach  us.  Certainly  he  can  advocate  and  win  a  cause  supported  by 
logically  weak  arguments  and  one  which,  in  this  sense,  is  a  'weak'  cause. 
Yet  he  wins  it  because  technically  he  makes  a  'strong  case'  for  it.  But 
only  the  lawyer  successfully  pleads  a  cause  that  can  be  supported  by  logi- 


cally  strong  arguments,  thus  handling  a  'good'  cause  'well.'  All  too  often 
the  civil  servant  as  a  politician  turns  a  cause  that  is  good  in  every  sense 
into  a  'weak'  cause,  through  technically  'weak'  pleading.  This  is  what  we 
have  had  to  experience.  To  an  outstanding  degree,  politics  today  is  in 
fact  conducted  in  public  by  means  of  the  spoken  or  written  word.  To 
weigh  the  effect  of  the  word  properly  falls  within  the  range  of  the  law- 
yer's tasks;  but  not  at  all  into  that  of  the  civil  servant.  The  latter  is  no 
demagogue,  nor  is  it  his  purpose  to  be  one.  If  he  nevertheless  tries  to 
become  a  demagogue,  he  usually  becomes  a  very  poor  one. 

According  to  his  proper  vocation,  the  genuine  official — and  this  is 
decisive  for  the  evaluation  of  our  former  regime — will  not  engage  in 
politics.  Rather,  he  should  engage  in  impartial  'administration.'  This 
also  holds  for  the  so-called  'political'  administrator,  at  least  officially, 
in  so  far  as  the  raison  d'etat,  that  is,  the  vital  interests  of  the  ruling 
order,  are  not  in  question.  Sine  ira  et  studio,  'without  scorn  and  bias,' 
he  shall  administer  his  office.  Hence,  he  shall  not  do  precisely  what  the 
politician,  the  leader  as  well  as  his  following,  must  always  and  neces- 
sarily do,  namely,  fight. 

To  take  a  stand,  to  be  passionate — ira  et  studium — is  the  politician's 
element,  and  above  all  the  element  of  the  political  leader.  His  conduct 
is  subject  to  quite  a  different,  indeed,  exactly  the  opposite,  principle 
of  responsibility  from  that  of  the  civil  servant.  The  honor  of  the  civil 
servant  is  vested  in  his  ability  to  execute  conscientiously  the  order  of  the 
superior  authorities,  exactly  as  if  the  order  agreed  with  his  own  con- 
viction. This  holds  even  if  the  order  appears  wrong  to  him  and  if, 
despite  the  civil  servant's  remonstrances,  the  authority  insists  on  the 
order.  Without  this  moral  discipline  and  self-denial,  in  the  highest  sense, 
the  whole  apparatus  would  fall  to  pieces.  The  honor  of  the  political 
leader,  of  the  leading  statesman,  however,  lies  precisely  in  an  exclusive 
personal  responsibility  for  what  he  does,  a  responsibility  he  cannot  and 
must  not  reject  or  transfer.  It  is  in  the  nature  of  officials  of  high  moral 
standing  to  be  poor  politicians,  and  above  all,  in  the  political  sense  of 
the  word,  to  be  irresponsible  politicians.  In  this  sense,  they  are  poli- 
ticians of  low  moral  standing,  such  as  we  unfortunately  have  had  again 
and  again  in  leading  positions.  This  is  what  we  have  called  Beamtenherr- 
schajt  [civil-service  rule],  and  truly  no  spot  soils  the  honor  of  our  offi- 
cialdom if  we  reveal  what  is  politically  wrong  with  the  system  from  the 
standpoint  of  success.  But  let  us  return  once  more  to  the  types  of  political 


Since  the  time  of  the  constitutional  state,  and  definitely  since  democ- 
racy has  been  established,  the  'demagogue'  has  been  the  typical  political 
leader  in  the  Occident.  The  distasteful  flavor  of  the  word  must  not 
make  us  forget  that  not  Cleon  but  Pericles  was  the  first  to  bear  the 
name  of  demagogue.  In  contrast  to  the  offices  of  ancient  democracy  that 
were  filled  by  lot,  Pericles  led  the  sovereign  Ecclesia  of  the  demos  of 
Athens  as  a  supreme  strategist  holding  the  only  elective  office  or  without 
holding  any  office  at  all.  Modern  demagoguery  also  makes  use  of 
oratory,  even  to  a  tremendous  extent,  if  one  considers  the  election 
speeches  a  modern  candidate  has  to  deliver.  But  the  use  of  the  printed 
word  is  more  enduring.  The  political  publicist,  and  above  all  the 
journalist,  is  nowadays  the  most  important  representative  of  the  dema- 
gogic species. 

Within  the  limits  of  this  lecture,  it  is  quite  impossible  even  to  sketch 
the  sociology  of  modern  political  journalism,  which  in  every  respect  con- 
stitutes a  chapter  in  itself.  Certainly,  only  a  few  things  concerning  it  are 
in  place  here.  In  common  with  all  demagogues  and,  by  the  way,  with  the 
lawyer  (and  the  artist),  the  journalist  shares  the  fate  of  lacking  a  fixed 
social  classification.  At  least,  this  is  the  case  on  the  Continent,  in  contrast 
to  the  English,  and,  by  the  way,  also  to  former  conditions  in  Prussia. 
The  journalist  belongs  to  a  sort  of  pariah  caste,  which  is  always  estimated 
by  'society'  in  terms  of  its  ethically  lowest  representative.  Hence,  the 
strangest  notions  about  journalists  and  their  work  are  abroad.  Not  every- 
body reahzes  that  a  really  good  journalistic  accomplishment  requires  at 
least  as  much  'genius'  *  as  any  scholarly  accomplishment,  especially  be- 
cause of  the  necessity  of  producing  at  once  and  'on  order,'  and  because 
of  the  necessity  of  being  effective,  to  be  sure,  under  quite  different  condi- 
tions of  production.  It  is  almost  never  acknowledged  that  the  responsi- 
bility of  the  journalist  is  far  greater,  and  that  the  sense  of  responsibility 
of  every  honorable  journalist  is,  on  the  average,  not  a  bit  lower  than 
that  of  the  scholar,  but  rather,  as  the  war  has  shown,  higher.  This  is  be- 
cause, in  the  very  nature  of  the  case,  irresponsible  journalistic  accom- 
plishments and  their  often  terrible  effects  are  remembered. 

Nobody  believes  that  the  discretion  of  any  able  journalist  ranks  above 
the  average  of  other  people,  and  yet  that  is  the  case.  The  quite  incompa- 
rably graver  temptations,  and  the  other  conditions  that  accompany  jour- 
nalistic work  at  the  present  time,  produce  those  results  which  have  con- 
ditioned the  public  to  regard  the  press  with  a  mixture  of  disdain  and 
pitiful  cowardice.  Today  we  cannot  discuss  what  is  to  be  done.  Here  we 


are  interested  in  the  question  of  the  occupational  destiny  of  the  poHtical 
journahst  and  of  his  chance  to  attain  a  position  of  poUtical  leadership. 
Thus  far,  the  journalist  has  had  favorable  chances  only  in  the  Social 
Democratic  party.  Within  the  party,  editorial  positions  have  been  pre- 
dominantly in  the  nature  of  official  positions,  but  editorial  positions  have 
not  been  the  basis  for  positions  of  leadership. 

In  the  bourgeois  parties,  on  the  whole,  the  chances  for  ascent  to  politi- 
cal power  along  this  avenue  have  rather  become  worse,  as  compared 
with  those  of  the  previous  generation.  Naturally  every  politician  of  con- 
sequence has  needed  influence  over  the  press  and  hence  has  needed 
relations  with  the  press.  But  that  party  leaders  would  emerge  from  the 
ranks  of  the  press  has  been  an  absolute  exception  and  one  should  not 
have  expected  it.  The  reason  for  this  lies  in  the  strongly  increased  'indis- 
pensability'  of  the  journahst,  above  all,  of  the  propertyless  and  hence 
professionally  bound  journalist,  an  indispensability  which  is  determined 
by  the  tremendously  increased  intensity  and  tempo  of  journalistic  oper- 
ations. The  necessity  of  gaining  one's  livelihood  by  the  writing  of  daily 
or  at  least  weekly  articles  is  like  lead  on  the  feet  of  the  politicians.  I 
know  of  cases  in  which  natural  leaders  have  been  permanently  paralyzed 
in  their  ascent  to  power,  externally  and  above  all  internally,  by  this  com- 
pulsion. The  relations  of  the  press  to  the  ruling  powers  in  the  state  and 
in  the  parties,  under  the  old  regime  [of  the  Kaiser],  were  as  detrimental 
as  they  could  be  to  the  level  of  journalism;  but  that  is  a  chapter  in  itself. 
These  conditions  w^ere  different  in  the  countries  of  our  opponents  [the 
Allies].  But  there  also,  and  for  all  modern  states,  apparently  the  jour- 
nahst worker  gains  less  and  less  as  the  capitalist  lord  of  the  press,  of  the 
sort  of  'Lord'  Northcliffe,  for  instance,  gains  more  and  more  political 

Thus  far,  however,  our  great  capitalist  newspaper  concerns,  which  at- 
tained control,  especially  over  the  'chain  newspapers,'  with  'want  ads,' 
have  been  regularly  and  typically  the  breeders  of  political  indifference. 
For  no  profits  could  be  made  in  an  independent  policy;  especially  no 
profitable  benevolence  of  the  politically  dominant  powers  could  be  ob- 
tained. The  advertising  business  is  also  the  avenue  along  which,  during 
the  war,  the  attempt  was  made  to  influence  the  press  politically  in  a  grand 
style — an  attempt  which  apparently  it  is  regarded  as  desirable  to  continue 
now.  Although  one  may  expect  the  great  papers  to  escape  this  pressure, 
the  situation  of  the  small  ones  will  be  far  more  difficult.  In  any  case,  for 
the  time  being,  the  journalist  career  is  not  among  us,  a  normal  avenue 


for  the  ascent  of  political  leaders,  whatever  attraction  journalism  may 
otherwise  have  and  whatever  measure  of  influence,  range  of  activity,  and 
especially  political  responsibility  it  may  yield.  One  has  to  wait  and  see. 
Perhaps  journalism  does  not  have  this  function  any  longer,  or  perhaps 
journalism  does  not  yet  have  it.  Whether  the  renunciation  of  the  principle 
of  anonymity  would  mean  a  change  in  this  is  difficult  to  say.  Some  jour- 
nalists— ^not  all — believe  in  dropping  principled  anonymity.  What  we 
have  experieiictd  during  the  war  in  the  German  press,  and  in  the 
'management'  of  newspapers  by  especially  hired  personages  and  talented 
writers  who  always  expressly  figured  under  their  names,  has  unfortu- 
nately shown,  in  some  of  the  better  known  cases,  that  an  increased  aware- 
ness of  responsibility  is  not  so  certain  to  be  bred  as  might  be  believed. 
Some  of  the  papers  were,  without  regard  to  party,  precisely  the  notoriously 
worst  boulevard  sheets;  by  dropping  anonymity  they  strove  for  and  at- 
tained greater  sales.  The  publishers  as  well  as  the  journalists  of  sensation- 
alism have  gained  fortunes  but  certainly  not  honor.  Nothing  is  here 
being  said  against  the  principle  of  promoting  sales;  the  question  is  indeed 
an  intricate  one,  and  the  phenomenon  of  irresponsible  sensationaUsm  does 
not  hold  in  general.  But  thus  far,  sensationalism  has  not  been  the  road  to 
genuine  leadership  or  to  the  responsible  management  of  politics.  How 
conditions  will  further  develop  remains  to  be  seen.  Yet  the  journalist 
career  remains  under  all  circumstances  one  of  the  most  important  ave- 
nues of  professional  political  activity.  It  is  not  a  road  for  everybody,  least 
of  all  for  weak  characters,  especially  for  people  who  can  maintain  their 
inner  balance  only  with  a  secure  status  position.  If  the  life  of  a  young 
scholar  is  a  gamble,  still  he  is  walled  in  by  firm  status  conventions,  which 
prevent  him  from  slipping.  But  the  journalist's  life  is  an  absolute  gamble 
in  every  respect  and  under  conditions  that  test  one's  inner  security  in  a 
way  that  scarcely  occurs  in  any  other  situation.  The  often  bitter  experi- 
ences in  occupational  life  are  perhaps  not  even  the  worst.  The  inner 
demands  that  are  directed  precisely  at  the  successful  journalist  are 
especially  difficult.  It  is,  indeed,  no  small  matter  to  frequent  the  salons 
of  the  powerful  on  this  earth  on  a  seemingly  equal  footing  and  often  to 
be  flattered  by  all  because  one  is  feared,  yet  knowing  all  the  time  that 
having  hardly  closed  the  door  the  host  has  perhaps  to  justify  before  his 
guests  his  association  with  the  'scavengers  from  the  press.'  Moreover,  it 
is  no  small  matter  that  one  must  express  oneself  promptly  and  con- 
vincingly about  this  and  that,  on  all  conceivable  problems  of  life — what- 
ever the  'market'  happens  to  demand — and  this  without  becoming  abso- 


lutely  shallow  and  above  all  without  losing  one's  dignity  by  baring 
oneself,  a  thing  which  has  merciless  results.  It  is  not  astonishing  that 
there  are  many  journalists  who  have  become  human  failures  and  worth- 
less men.  Rather,  it  is  astonishing  that,  despite  all  this,  this  very  stratum 
includes  such  a  great  number  of  valuable  and  quite  genuine  men,  a  fact 
that  outsiders  would  not  so  easily  guess. 

If  the  journalist  as  a  type  of  professional  politician  harks  back  to  a 
rather  considerable  past,  the  figure  of  the  party  official  belongs  only  to 
the  development  of  the  last  decades  and,  in  part,  only  to  recent  years.  In 
order  to  comprehend  the  position  of  this  figure  in  historical  evolution, 
we  shall  have  to  turn  to  a  consideration  of  parties  and  party  organiza- 

In  all  political  associations  which  are  somehow  extensive,  that  is,  asso- 
ciations going  beyond  the  sphere  and  range  of  the  tasks  of  small  rural 
districts  where  power-holders  are  periodically  elected,  political  organiza- 
tion is  necessarily  managed  by  men  interested  in  the  management  of 
politics.  This  is  to  say  that  a  relatively  small  number  of  men  are  pri- 
marily interested  in  political  life  and  hence  interested  in  sharing  political 
power.  They  provide  themselves  with  a  following  through  free  recruit- 
ment, present  themselves  or  their  proteges  as  candidates  for  election,  col- 
lect the  financial  means,  and  go  out  for  vote-grabbing.  It  is  unimagi- 
nable how  in  large  associations  elections  could  function  at  all  without 
this  managerial  pattern.  In  practice  this  means  the  division  of  the  citizens 
with  the  right  to  vote  into  politically  active  and  politically  passive  ele- 
ments. This  difference  is  based  on  voluntary  attitudes,  hence  it  cannot  be 
abolished  through  measures  like  obligatory  voting,  or  'occupational  status 
group'  representation,  or  similar  measures  that  are  expressly  or  actually 
directed  against  this  state  of  affairs  and  the  rule  of  professional  politicians. 
The  active  leadership  and  their  freely  recruited  following  are  the  neces- 
sary elements  in  the  life  of  any  party.  The  following,  and  through  it 
the  passive  electorate,  are  necessary  for  the  election  of  the  leader.  But  the 
structure  of  parties  varies.  For  instance,  the  'parties'  of  the  medieval 
cities,  such  as  those  of  the  Guelfs  and  the  Ghibellines,  were  purely  per- 
sonal foUowings.  If  one  considers  various  things  about  these  medieval 
parties,  one  is  reminded  of  Bolshevism  and  its  Soviets.  Consider  the 
Statuta  della  perta  Guelja,  the  confiscations  of  the  Nobili's  estates — which 
originally  meant  all  those  families  who  lived  a  chivalrous  life  and  who 
thus  qualified  for  fiefs — consider  the  exclusion  from  office-holding  and 
the  denial  of  the  right  to  vote,  the  inter-local  party  committees,  the 


Strictly  military  organizations  and  the  premiums  for  informers.  Then 
consider  Bolshevism  with  its  strictly  sieved  military  and,  in  Russia  espe- 
cially, informer  organizations,  the  disarmament  and  denial  of  the  politi- 
cal rights  of  the  'bourgeois,'  that  is,  of  the  entrepreneur,  trader,  rentier, 
clergyman,  descendants  of  the  dynasty,  police  agents,  as  well  as  the 
confiscation  policy. 

This  analogy  is  still  more  striking  when  one  considers  that,  on  the  one 
hand,  the  military  organization  of  the  medieval  party  constituted  a  pure 
army  of  knights  organized  on  the  basis  of  the  registered  feudal  estates 
and  that  nobles  occupied  almost  all  leading  positions,  and,  on  the  other 
hand,  that  the  Soviets  have  preserved,  or  rather  reintroduced,  the  highly 
paid  enterpriser,  the  group  wage,  the  Taylor  system,  military  and  work- 
shop discipline,  and  a  search  for  foreign  capital.  Hence,  in  a  word,  the 
Soviets  have  had  to  accept  again  absolutely  all  the  things  that  Bolshevism 
had  been  fighting  as  bourgeois  class  institutions.  They  have  had  to  do 
this  in  order  to  keep  the  state  and  the  economy  going  at  all.  Moreover, 
the  Soviets  have  reinstituted  the  agents  of  the  former  Ochrana  [Tsarist 
Secret  Police]  as  the  main  instrument  of  their  state  power.  But  here  we 
do  not  have  to  deal  with  such  organizations  for  violence,  but  rather 
with  professional  politicians  who  strive  for  power  through  sober  and 
'peaceful'  party  campaigns  in  the  market  of  election  votes. 

Parties,  in  the  sense  usual  with  us,  were  at  first,  for  instance  in  Eng- 
land, pure  followings  of  the  aristocracy.  If,  for  any  reason  whatever,  a 
peer  changed  his  party,  everybody  dependent  upon  him  likewise  changed. 
Up  to  the  Reform  Bill  [of  1832],  the  great  noble  families  and,  last 
but  not  least,  the  king  controlled  the  patronage  of  an  immense  number 
of  election  boroughs.  Close  to  these  aristocratic  parties  were  the  parties  of 
notables,  which  develop  everywhere  with  the  rising  power  of  the  bour- 
geois. Under  the  spiritual  leadership  of  the  typical  intellectual  strata  of 
the  Occident,  the  propertied  and  cultured  circles  differentiated  themselves 
into  parties  and  followed  them.  These  parties  were  formed  partly  accord- 
ing to  class  interest,  partly  according  to  family  traditions,  and  partly  for 
ideological  reasons.  Clergymen,  teachers,  professors,  lawyers,  doctors, 
apothecaries,  prosperous  farmers,  manufacturers — in  England  the  whole 
stratum  that  considered  itself  as  belonging  to  the  class  of  gentlemen — 
formed,  at  first,  occasional  associations  at  most  local  political  clubs.  In 
times  of  unrest  the  petty  bourgeoisie  raised  its  voice,  and  once  in  a  while 
the  proletariat,  if  leaders  arose  who,  however,  as  a  rule  did  not  stem  from 
their  midst.  In  this  phase,  parties  organized  as  permanent  associations 


between  localities  do  not  yet  exist  in  the  open  country.  Only  the  parlia- 
mentary delegates  create  the  cohesion;  and  the  local  notables  are  de- 
cisive for  the  selection  of  candidates.  The  election  programs  originate 
partly  in  the  election  appeals  of  the  candidates  and  partly  in  the  meetings 
of  the  notables;  or,  they  originate  as  resolutions  of  the  parliamentary 
party.  Leadership  of  the  clubs  is  an  avocation  and  an  honorific  pursuit, 
as  demanded  by  the  occasion. 

Where  clubs  are  absent  (as  is  mostly  the  case),  the  quite  formless 
management  of  pohtics  in  normal  times  lies  in  the  hands  of  the  few 
people  constantly  interested  in  it.  Only  the  journalist  is  a  paid  profes- 
sional politician;  only  the  management  of  the  newspaper  is  a  continuous 
political  organization.  Besides  the  newspaper,  there  is  only  the  parlia- 
mentary session.  The  parliamentary  delegates  and  the  parliamentary 
party  leaders  know  to  which  local  notables  one  turns  if  a  political  action 
seems  desirable.  But  permanent  associations  of  the  parties  exist  only  in 
the  large  cities  with  moderate  contributions  of  the  members  and  periodi- 
cal conferences  and  public  meetings  where  the  delegate  gives  account 
of  the  parliamentary  activities.  The  party  is  alive  only  during  election 

The  members  of  parliament  are  interested  in  the  possibility  of  inter- 
local electoral  compromises,  in  vigorous  and  unified  programs  endorsed  by 
broad  circles  and  in  a  unified  agitation  throughout  the  country.  In  general 
these  interests  form  the  driving  force  of  a  party  organization  which  be- 
comes more  and  more  strict.  In  principle,  however,  the  nature  of  a  party 
apparatus  as  an  association  of  notables  remains  unchanged.  This  is  so, 
even  though  a  network  of  local  party  affiliations  and  agents  is  spread 
over  the  whole  country,  including  middle-sized  cities.  A  member  of  the 
parhamentary  party  acts  as  the  leader  of  the  central  party  office  and  main- 
tains constant  correspondence  with  the  local  organizations.  Outside  of 
the  central  bureau,  paid  officials  are  still  absent;  thoroughly  'respectable' 
people  head  the  local  organizations  for  the  sake  of  the  deference  which 
they  enjoy  anyway.  They  form  the  extra-parliamentary  'notables'  who 
exert  influence  alongside  the  stratum  of  poHtical  notables  who  happen 
to  sit  in  parliament.  However,  the  party  correspondence,  edited  by  the 
party,  increasingly  provides  intellectual  nourishment  for  the  press  and  for 
the  local  meetings.  Regular  contributions  of  the  members  become  indis- 
pensable; a  part  of  these  must  cover  the  expenses  of  headquarters. 

Not  so  long  ago  most  of  the  German  party  organizations  were  still 
in  this  stage  of  development.  In  France,  the  first  stage  of  party  develop- 


ment  was,  at  least  in  part,  still  predominant,  and  the  organization  of  the 
members  of  parliament  was  quite  unstable.  In  the  open  country,  we  find 
a  small  number  of  local  notables  and  programs  drafted  by  the  candidates 
or  set  up  for  them  by  their  patrons  in  specific  campaigns  for  office.  To 
be  sure,  these  platforms  constitute  more  or  less  local  adaptations  to  the 
resolutions  and  programs  of  the  members  of  parliament.  This  system  was 
only  partially  punctured.  The  number  of  full-time  professional  politicians 
was  small,  consisting  in  the  main  of  the  elected  deputies,  the  few  em- 
ployees of  headquarters,  and  the  journalists.  In  France,  the  system  has 
also  included  those  job  hunters  who  held  'political  office'  or,  at  the  mo- 
ment, strove  for  one.  Politics  was  formally  and  by  far  predominantly 
an  avocation.  The  number  of  delegates  qualifying  for  ministerial  office 
was  also  very  restricted  and,  because  of  their  position  as  notables,  so  was 
the  number  of  election  candidates. 

However,  the  number  of  those  who  indirectly  had  a  stake  in  the  man- 
agement of  politics,  especially  a  material  one,  was  very  large.  For,  all 
administrative  measures  of  a  ministerial  department,  and  especially  all 
decisions  in  matters  of  personnel,  were  made  partly  with  a  view  to  their 
influence  upon  electoral  chances.  The  realization  of  each  and  every  kind 
of  wish  was  sought  through  the  local  delegate's  mediation.  For  better  or 
for  worse  the  minister  had  to  lend  his  ear  to  this  delegate,  especially 
if  the  delegate  belonged  to  the  minister's  majority.  Hence  everybody 
strove  for  such  influence.  The  single  deputy  controlled  the  patronage 
of  office  and,  in  general,  any  kind  of  patronage  in  his  election  district. 
In  order  to  be  re-elected  the  deputy,  in  turn,  maintained  connections 
with  the  local  notables. 

Now  then,  the  most  modern  forms  of  party  organizations  stand  in 
sharp  contrast  to  this  idyllic  state  in  which  circles  of  notables  and,  above 
all,  members  of  parliament  rule.  These  modern  forms  are  the  children 
of  democracy,  of  mass  franchise,  of  the  necessity  to  woo  and  organize 
the  masses,  and  develop  the  utmost  unity  of  direction  and  the  strictest 
discipline.  The  rule  of  notables  and  guidance  by  members  of  parliament 
ceases.  'Professional'  politicians  outside  the  parliaments  take  the  organ- 
ization in  hand.  They  do  so  either  as  'entrepreneurs' — the  American  boss 
and  the  English  election  agent  are,  in  fact,  such  entrepreneurs — or  as 
officials  with  a  fixed  salary.  Formally,  a  fargoing  democratization  takes 
place.  The  parliamentary  party  no  longer  creates  the  authoritative  pro- 
grams, and  the  local  notables  no  longer  decide  the  selection  of  candidates. 
Rather  assemblies  of  the  organized  party  members  select  the  candidates 


and  delegate  members  to  the  assemblies  o£  a  higher  order.  Possibly  there 
are  several  such  conventions  leading  up  to  the  national  convention  of 
the  party.  Naturally  power  actually  rests  in  the  hands  of  those  who, 
within  the  organization,  handle  the  work  continuously.  Otherwise,  power 
rests  in  the  hands  of  those  on  whom  the  organization  in  its  processes 
depends  financially  or  personally — for  instance,  on  the  Maecenases  or 
the  directors  of  powerful  political  clubs  of  interested  persons  (Tammany 
Hall).  It  is  decisive  that  this  whole  apparatus  of  people — characteristically 
called  a  'machine'  in  Anglo-Saxon  countries — or  rather  those  who  direct 
the  machine,  keep  the  members  of  the  parliament  in  check.  They  are  in 
a  position  to  impose  their  will  to  a  rather  far-reaching  extent,  and  that  is 
of  special  significance  for  the  selection  of  the  party  leader.  The  man 
whom  the  machine  follows  now  becomes  the  leader,  even  over  the  head 
of  the  parliamentary  party.  In  other  words,  the  creation  of  such  machines 
signifies  the  advent  of  plebiscitarian  democracy. 

The  party  following,  above  all  the  party  official  and  party  entrepre- 
neur, naturally  expect  personal  compensation  from  the  victory  of  their 
leader — ^that  is,  offices  or  other  advantages.  It  is  decisive  that  they  expect 
such  advantages  from  their  leader  and  not  merely  from  the  individual 
member  of  parliament.  They  expect  that  the  demagogic  effect  of  the 
leader's  personality  during  the  election  fight  of  the  party  will  increase 
votes  and  mandates  and  thereby  power,  and,  thereby,  as  far  as  possible, 
will  extend  opportunities  to  their  followers  to  find  the  compensation  for 
which  they  hope.  Ideally,  one  of  their  mainsprings  is  the  satisfaction  of 
working  with  loyal  personal  devotion  for  a  man,  and  not  merely  for  an 
abstract  program  of  a  party  consisting  of  mediocrities.  In  this  respect,  the 
'charismatic'  element  of  all  leadership  is  at  work  in  the  party  system. 

In  very  different  degrees  this  system  made  headway,  although  it  was 
in  constant,  latent  struggle  with  local  notables  and  the  members  of  par- 
liament who  wrangled  for  influence.  This  was  the  case  in  the  bourgeois 
parties,  first,  in  the  United  States,  and,  then,  in  the  Social  Democratic 
party,  especially  of  Germany.  Constant  setbacks  occur  as  soon  as  no  gen- 
erally recognized  leader  exists,  and,  even  when  he  is  found,  concessions  of 
all  sorts  must  be  made  to  the  vanity  and  the  personal  interest  of  the  party 
notables.  The  machine  may  also  be  brought  under  the  domination  of  the 
party  officials  in  whose  hands  the  regular  business  rests.  According  to 
the  view  of  some  Social  Democratic  circles,  their  party  had  succumbed 
to  this  'bureaucratization.'  But  'officials'  submit  relatively  easily  to  a 
leader's  personality  if  it  has  a  strong  demagogic  appeal.  The  material 


and  the  ideal  interests  of  the  officials  are  intimately  connected  with 
the  effects  of  party  power  which  are  expected  from  the  leader's  appeal, 
and  besides,  inwardly  it  is  per  se  more  satisfying  to  work  for  a  leader. 
The  ascent  of  leaders  is  far  more  difficult  where  the  notables,  along 
with  the  officials,  control  the  party,  as  is  usually  the  case  in  the  bourgeois 
parties.  For  ideally  the  notables  make  'their  way  of  life'  out  of  the 
petty  chairmanships  or  committee  memberships  they  hold.  Resentment 
against  the  demagogue  as  a  homo  nouns,  the  conviction  of  the  superi- 
ority of  political  party  'experience'  (which,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  actually 
is  of  considerable  importance),  and  the  ideological  concern  for  the 
crumbling  of  the  old  party  traditions — these  factors  determine  the  con- 
duct of  the  notables.  They  can  count  on  all  the  traditionalist  elements 
within  the  party.  Above  all,  the  rural  but  also  the  petty  bourgeois 
voter  looks  for  the  name  of  the  notable  familiar  to  him.  He  distrusts  the 
man  who  is  unknown  to  him.  However,  once  this  man  has  become 
successful,  he  clings  to  him  the  more  unwaveringly.  Let  us  now  con- 
sider, by  some  major  examples,  the  struggle  of  the  two  structural  forms 
— of  the  notables  and  of  the  party — and  especially  let  us  consider  the 
ascendancy  of  the  plebiscitarian  form  as  described  by  Ostrogorsky. 

First  England:  there  until  i(S68  the  party  organization  was  almost 
purely  an  organization  of  notables.  The  Tories  in  the  country  found 
support,  for  instance,  from  the  Anglican  parson,  and  from  the  school- 
master, and  above  all  from  the  large  landlords  of  the  respective  county. 
The  Whigs  found  support  mostly  from  such  people  as  the  nonconformist 
preacher  (when  there  was  one),  the  postmaster,  the  blacksmith,  the  tailor, 
the  ropemaker — that  is,  from  such  artisans  who  could  disseminate  political 
influence  because  they  could  chat  with  people  most  frequently.  In  the 
city  the  parties  differed,  partly  according  to  economics,  partly  according 
to  religion,  and  partly  simply  according  to  the  party  opinions  handed 
down  in  the  families.  But  always  the  notables  were  the  pillars  of  the 
political  organization. 

Above  all  these  arrangements  stood  Parliament,  the  parties  with  the 
cabinet,  and  the  'leader,'  who  was  the  chairman  of  the  council  of  min- 
isters or  the  leader  of  the  opposition.  This  leader  had  beside  him  the 
'whip' — the  most  important  professional  politician  of  the  party  organiza- 
tion. Patronage  of  office  was  vested  in  the  hands  of  the  'whip';  thus  the 
job  hunter  had  to  turn  to  him  and  he  arranged  an  understanding  with 
the  deputies  of  the  individual  election  boroughs.  A  stratum  of  profes- 
sional politicians  gradually  began  to  develop  in  the  boroughs.  At  first 


the  locally  recruited  agents  were  not  paid;  they  occupied  approximately 
the  same  position  as  our  Vertrauens manner.^  However,  along  with  them, 
a  capitalist  entrepreneurial  type  developed  in  the  boroughs.  This  was  the 
'election  agent,'  whose  existence  was  unavoidable  under  England's  mod- 
ern legislation  which  guaranteed  fair  elections. 

This  legislation  aimed  at  controlling  the  campaign  costs  of  elections 
and  sought  to  check  the  power  of  money  by  making  it  obligatory  for 
the  candidate  to  state  the  costs  of  his  campaign.  For  in  England,  the 
candidate,  besides  straining  his  voice — far  more  so  than  was  formerly 
the  case  with  us  [in  Germany] — enjoyed  stretching  his  purse.  The  elec- 
tion agent  made  the  candidate  pay  a  lump  sum,  which  usually  meant  a 
good  deal  for  the  agent.  In  the  distribution  of  power  in  Parliament  and 
the  country  between  the  'leader'  and  the  party  notables,  the  leader  in 
England  used  to  hold  a  very  eminent  position.  This  position  was  based 
on  the  compelling  fact  of  making  possible  a  grand,  and  thereby  steady, 
political  strategy.  Nevertheless  the  influence  of  the  parliamentary  party 
and  of  party  notables  was  still  considerable. 

That  is  about  what  the  old  party  organization  looked  like.  It  was  half 
an  affair  of  notables  and  half  an  entrepreneurial  organization  with 
salaried  employees.  Since  1868,  however,  the  'caucus'  system  developed, 
first  for  local  elections  in  Birmingham,  then  all  over  the  country.  A 
nonconformist  parson  and  along  with  him  Joseph  Chamberlain  brought 
this  system  to  life.  The  occasion  for  this  development  was  the  democrati- 
zation of  the  franchise.  In  order  to  win  the  masses  it  became  necessary 
to  call  into  being  a  tremendous  apparatus  of  apparently  democratic  asso- 
ciations. An  electoral  association  had  to  be  formed  in  every  city  district 
to  help  keep  the  organization  incessantly  in  motion  and  to  bureaucratize 
everything  rigidly.  Hence,  hired  and  paid  officials  of  the  local  electoral 
committees  increased  numerically;  and,  on  the  whole,  perhaps  10  per 
cent  of  the  voters  were  organized  in  these  local  committees.  The  elected 
party  managers  had  the  right  to  co-opt  others  and  were  the  formal  bear- 
ers of  party  politics.  The  driving  force  was  the  local  circle,  which  was, 
above  all,  composed  of  those  interested  in  municipal  politics — from  which 
the  fattest  material  opportunities  always  spring.  These  local  circles  were 
also  first  to  call  upon  the  world  of  finance.  This  newly  emerging  machine, 
which  was  no  longer  led  by  members  of  Parliament,  very  soon  had  to 
struggle  with  the  previous  power-holders,  above  all,  with  the  'whip.'  Be- 
ing supported  by  locally  interested  persons,  the  machine  came  out  of  the 
fight  so  victoriously  that  the  whip  had  to  submit  and  compromise  with 


the  machine.  The  result  was  a  centraHzation  of  all  power  in  the  hands 
o£  the  few  and,  ultimately,  of  the  one  person  who  stood  at  the  top  of  the 
party.  The  whole  system  had  arisen  in  the  Liberal  party  in  connection 
with  Gladstone's  ascent  to  power.  What  brought  this  machine  to  such 
swift  triumph  over  the  notables  was  the  fascination  of  Gladstone's  'grand' 
demagogy,  the  firm  belief  of  the  masses  in  the  ethical  substance  of  his 
policy,  and,  above  all,  their  belief  in  the  ethical  character  of  his  person- 
ality. It  soon  became  obvious  that  a  Caesarist  plebiscitarian  element  in 
politics — the  dictator  of  the  battlefield  of  elections — had  appeared  on  the 
plain.  In  1877  the  caucus  became  active  for  the  first  time  in  national 
elections,  and  with  brilliant  success,  for  the  result  was  Disraeli's  fall  at 
the  height  of  his  great  achievements.  In  1866,  the  machine  was  already 
so  completely  oriented  to  the  charismatic  personality  that  when  the  ques- 
tion of  home  rule  was  raised  the  whole  apparatus  from  top  to  bottom 
did  not  question  whether  it  actually  stood  on  Gladstone's  ground;  it 
simply,  on  his  word,  fell  in  line  with  him:  they  said,  Gladstone  right  or 
wrong,  we  follow  him.  And  thus  the  machine  deserted  its  own  creator, 

Such  machinery  requires  a  considerable  personnel.  In  England  there 
are  about  2,000  persons  who  live  directly  off  party  politics.  To  be  sure, 
those  who  are  active  in  politics  purely  as  job  seekers  or  as  interested 
persons  are  far  more  numerous,  especially  in  municipal  politics.  In  addi- 
tion to  economic  opportunities,  for  the  useful  caucus  politician,  there  are 
the  opportunities  to  satisfy  his  vanity.  To  become  'J-P-'  or  even  'M.P.'  is, 
of  course,  in  line  with  the  greatest  (and  normal)  ambition;  and  such 
people,  who  are  of  demonstrably  good  breeding,  that  is,  'gentlemen,'  at- 
tain their  goal.  The  highest  goal  is,  of  course,  a  peerage,  especially  for 
the  great  financial  Maecenases.  About  50  per  cent  of  the  finances  of  the 
party  depend  on  contributions  of  donors  who  remained  anonymous. 

Now  then,  what  has  been  the  effect  of  this  whole  system?  Nowadays 
the  members  of  Parliament,  with  the  exception  of  the  few  cabinet 
members  (and  a  few  insurgents),  are  normally  nothing  better  than  well- 
disciplined  'yes'  men.  With  us,  in  the  Reichstag,  one  used  at  least  to 
take  care  of  one's  private  correspondence  on  his  desk,  thus  indicating 
that  one  was  active  in  the  weal  of  the  country.  Such  gestures  are  not  de- 
manded in  England;  the  member  of  Parliament  must  only  vote,  not 
commit  party  treason.  He  must  appear  when  the  whips  call  him,  and  do 
what  the  cabinet  or  the  leader  of  the  opposition  orders.  The  caucus  ma- 
chine in  the  open  country  is  almost  completely  unprincipled  if  a  strong 


leader  exists  who  has  the  machine  absolutely  in  hand.  Therewith  the 
plebiscitarian  dictator  actually  stands  above  Parliament.  He  brings  the 
masses  behind  him  by  means  of  the  machine  and  the  members  of  ParUa- 
ment  are  for  him  merely  poHtical  spoilsmen  enrolled  in  his  following. 

How  does  the  selection  of  these  strong  leaders  take  place?  First,  in 
terms  of  what  abihty  are  they  selected?  Next  to  the  qualities  of  will — 
decisive  all  over  the  world — naturally  the  force  of  demagogic  speech  is 
above  all  decisive.  Its  character  has  changed  since  the  time  speakers  like 
Cobden  addressed  themselves  to  the  intellect,  and  Gladstone  who  mas- 
tered the  technique  of  apparently  'letting  sober  facts  speak  for  themselves.' 
At  the  present  time  often  purely  emotional  means  are  used — the  means 
the  Salvation  Army  also  exploits  in  order  to  set  the  masses  in  motion. 
One  may  call  the  existing  state  of  affairs  a  'dictatorship  resting  on  the 
exploitation  of  mass  emotionality.'  Yet,  the  highly  developed  system  of 
committee  work  in  the  English  Parliament  makes  it  possible  and  com- 
pelling for  every  politician  who  counts  on  a  share  in  leadership  to  co- 
operate in  committee  work.  All  important  ministers  of  recent  decades  have 
this  very  real  and  effective  work-training  as  a  background.  The  practice 
of  committee  reports  and  public  criticism  of  these  deliberations  is  a  con- 
dition for  training,  for  really  selecting  leaders  and  eliminating  mere 

Thus  it  is  in  England.  The  caucus  system  there,  however,  has  been 
a  weak  form,  compared  with  the  American  party  organization,  which 
brought  the  plebiscitarian  principle  to  an  especially  early  and  an  espe- 
cially pure  expression. 

According  to  Washington's  idea,  America  was  to  be  a  commonwealth 
administered  by  gentlemen.'  In  his  time,  in  America,  a  gentleman  was 
also  a  landlord,  or  a  man  with  a  college  education — this  was  the  case  at 
first.  In  the  beginning,  when  parties  began  to  organize,  the  members  of 
the  House  of  Representatives  claimed  to  be  leaders,  just  as  in  England  at 
the  time  when  notables  ruled.  The  party  organization  was  quite  loose 
and  continued  to  be  until  1824.  In  some  communities,  where  modern  de- 
velopment first  took  place,  the  party  machine  was  in  the  making  even 
before  the  eighteen-twenties.  But  when  Andrew  Jackson  was  first  elected 
President — the  election  of  the  western  farmers'  candidate — the  old  tradi- 
tions were  overthrown.  Formal  party  leadership  by  leading  members  of 
Congress  came  to  an  end  soon  after  1840,  when  the  great  parliamen- 
tarians, Calhoun  and  Webster,  retired  from  political  life  because  Congress 
had  lost  almost  all  of  its  power  to  the  party  machine  in  the  open  coun- 


try.  That  the  plebiscitarian  'machine'  has  developed  so  early  in  America 
is  due  to  the  fact  that  there,  and  there  alone,  the  executive — this  is  what 
mattered — the  chief  of  office-patronage,  was  a  President  elected  by  pleb- 
iscite. By  virtue  of  the  'separation  of  powers'  he  was  almost  inde- 
pendent of  parliament  in  his  conduct  of  office.  Hence,  as  the  price  of 
victory,  the  true  booty  object  of  the  office-prebend  was  held  out  pre- 
cisely at  the  presidential  election.  Through  Andrew  Jackson  the  'spoils 
system'  was  quite  systematically  raised  to  a  principle  and  the  conclusions 
were  drawn. 

What  does  this  spoils  system,  the  turning  over  of  federal  offices  to  the 
following  of  the  victorious  candidate,  mean  for  the  party  formations  of 
today?  It  means  that  quite  unprincipled  parties  oppose  one  another;  they 
are  purely  organizations  of  job  hunters  drafting  their  changing  platforms 
according  to  the  chances  of  vote-grabbing,  changing  their  colors  to  a  de- 
gree which,  despite  all  analogies,  is  not  yet  to  be  found  elsewhere.  The 
parties  are  simply  and  absolutely  fashioned  for  the  election  campaign 
that  is  most  important  for  office  patronage:  the  fight  for  the  presidency 
and  for  the  governorships  of  the  separate  states.  Platforms  and  candidates 
are  selected  at  the  national  conventions  of  the  parties  without  interven- 
tion by  congressmen.  Hence  they  emerge  from  party  conventions,  the 
delegates  of  which  are  formally,  very  democratically  elected.  These  dele- 
gates are  determined  by  meetings  of  other  delegates,  who,  in  turn,  owe 
their  mandate  to  the  'primaries,'  the  assembling  of  the  direct  voters  of 
the  party.  In  the  primaries  the  delegates  are  already  elected  in  the  name 
of  the  candidate  for  the  nation's  leadership.  Within  the  parties  the  most 
embittered  fight  rages  about  the  question  of  'nomination.'  After  all, 
300,000  to  400,000  official  appointments  lie  in  the  hands  of  the  President, 
appointments  which  are  executed  by  him  only  with  the  approval  of  the 
senators  from  the  separate  states.  Hence  the  senators  are  powerful  politi- 
cians. By  comparison,  however,  the  House  of  Representatives  is,  politi- 
cally, quite  impotent,  because  patronage  of  office  is  removed  from  it  and 
because  the  cabinet  members,  simply  assistants  to  the  President,  can  con- 
duct office  apart  from  the  confidence  or  lack  of  confidence  of  the  people. 
The  President,  who  is  legitimatized  by  the  people,  confronts  everybody, 
even  Congress;  this  is  a  result  of  'the  separation  of  powers.' 

In  America,  the  spoils  system,  supported  in  this  fashion,  has  been 
technically  possible  because  American  culture  with  its  youth  could  afford 
purely  dilettante  management.  With  300,000  to  400,000  such  party  men 
who  have  no  qualifications  to  their  credit  other  than  the  fact  of  having 


performed  good  services  for  their  party,  this  state  of  affairs  of  course 
could  not  exist  without  enormous  evils.  A  corruption  and  wastefulness 
second  to  none  could  be  tolerated  only  by  a  country  with  as  yet  unlimited 
economic  opportunities. 

Now  then,  the  boss  is  the  figure  who  appears  in  the  picture  of  this 
system  of  the  plebiscitarian  party  machine.  Who  is  the  boss?  He  is  a 
political  capitalist  entrepreneur  who  on  his  own  account  and  at  his  own 
risk  provides  votes.  He  may  have  established  his  first  relations  as  a 
lawyer  or  a  saloonkeeper  or  as  a  proprietor  of  similar  establishments,  or 
perhaps  as  a  creditor.  From  here  he  spins  his  threads  out  until  he  is 
able  to  'control'  a  certain  number  of  votes.  When  he  has  come  this  far 
he  establishes  contact  with  the  neighboring  bosses,  and  through  zeal, 
skill,  and  above  all  discretion,  he  attracts  the  attention  of  those  who  have 
already  further  advanced  in  the  career,  and  then  he  climbs.  The  boss  is 
indispensable  to  the  organization  of  the  party  and  the  organization  is  cen- 
tralized in  his  hands.  He  substantially  provides  the  financial  means.  How 
does  he  get  them  ?  Well,  partly  by  the  contributions  of  the  members,  and 
especially  by  taxing  the  salaries  of  those  officials  who  came  into  office 
through  him  and  his  party.  Furthermore,  there  are  bribes  and  tips.  He 
who  wishes  to  trespass  with  impunity  one  of  the  many  laws  needs  the 
boss's  connivance  and  must  pay  for  it;  or  else  he  will  get  into  trouble. 
But  this  alone  is  not  enough  to  accumulate  the  necessary  capital  for 
political  enterprises.  The  boss  is  indispensable  as  the  direct  recipient  of 
the  money  of  great  financial  magnates,  who  would  not  entrust  their 
money  for  election  purposes  to  a  paid  party  official,  or  to  anyone  else 
giving  public  account  of  his  affairs.  The  boss,  with  his  judicious  discre- 
tion in  financial  matters,  is  the  natural  man  for  those  capitalist  circles 
who  finance  the  election.  The  typical  boss  is  an  absolutely  sober  man.  He 
does  not  seek  social  honor;  the  'professional'  is  despised  in  'respectable 
society,'  He  seeks  power  alone,  power  as  a  source  of  money,  but  also 
power  for  power's  sake.  In  contrast  to  the  English  leader,  the  American 
boss  works  in  the  dark.  He  is  not  heard  speaking  in  public;  he  suggests 
to  the  speakers  what  they  must  say  in  expedient  fashion.  He  himself, 
however,  keeps  silent.  As  a  rule  he  acfepts  no  office,  except  that  of  senator. 
For,  since  the  senators,  by  virtue  of  the  Constitution,  participate  in 
office  patronage,  the  leading  bosses  often  sit  in  person  in  this  body.  The 
distribution  of  offices  is  carried  out,  in  the  first  place,  according  to  services 
done  for  the  party.  But,  also,  auctioning  offices  on  financial  bids  often 
occurs  and  there  are  certain  rates  for  individual  offices;  hence,  a  system 


of  selling  offices  exists  which,  after  all,  has  often  been  known  also  to 
the  monarchies,  the  church-state  included,  of  the  seventeenth  and  eight- 
eenth centuries. 

The  boss  has  no  firm  political  'principles';  he  is  completely  unprin- 
cipled in  attitude  and  asks  merely:  What  will  capture  votes?  Frequently 
he  is  a  rather  poorly  educated  man.  But  as  a  rule  he  leads  an  inoffen- 
sive and  correct  private  life.  In  his  political  morals,  however,  he  naturally 
adjusts  to  the  average  ethical  standards  of  political  conduct,  as  a  great 
many  of  us  also  may  have  done  during  the  hoarding  period  in  the  field  of 
economic  ethics.*^  That  as  a  'professional'  politician  the  boss  is  socially  de- 
spised does  not  worry  him.  That  he  personally  does  not  attain  high  federal 
offices,  and  does  not  wish  to  do  so,  has  the  frequent  advantage  that 
extra-party  intellects,  thus  notables,  may  come  into  candidacy  when  the 
bosses  believe  they  will  have  great  appeal  value  at  the  polls.  Hence  the 
same  old  party  notables  do  not  run  again  and  again,  as  is  the  case  in  Ger- 
many. Thus  the  structure  of  these  unprincipled  parties  with  their  so- 
cially despised  power-holders  has  aided  able  men  to  attain  the  presidency 
— men  who  with  us  never  would  have  come  to  the  top.  To  be  sure,  the 
bosses  resist  an  outsider  who  might  jeopardize  their  sources  of  money 
and  power.  Yet  in  the  competitive  struggle  to  win  the  favor  of  the  vot- 
ers, the  bosses  frequently  have  had  to  condescend  and  accept  candidates 
known  to  be  opponents  of  corruption. 

Thus  there  exists  a  strong  capitalist  party  machine,  strictly  and  thor- 
oughly organized  from  top  to  bottom,  and  supported  by  clubs  of  ex- 
traordinary stability.  These  clubs,  such  as  Tammany  Hall,  are  like 
Knight  orders.  They  seek  profits  solely  through  political  control,  espe- 
cially of  the  municipal  government,  which  is  the  most  important  object 
of  booty.  This  structure  of  party  life  was  made  possible  by  the  high  de- 
gree of  democracy  in  the  United  States — a  'New  Country.'  This  connec- 
tion, in  turn,  is  the  basis  for  the  fact  that  the  system  is  gradually  dying 
out.  America  can  no  longer  be  governed  only  by  dilettantes.  Scarcely  fif- 
teen years  ago,  when  American  workers  were  asked  why  they  allowed 
themselves  to  be  governed  by  politicians  whom  they  admitted  they  de- 
spised, the  answer  was:  'We  prefer  having  people  in  office  whom  we  can 
spit  upon,  rather  than  a  caste  of  officials  who  spit  upon  us,  as  is  the  case 
with  you.'  This  was  the  old  point  of  view  of  American  'democracy.'  Even 
then,  the  socialists  had  entirely  different  ideas  and  now  the  situation  is 
no  longer  bearable.  The  dilettante  administration  does  not  suffice  and 
the  Civil  Service  Reform  establishes  an  ever-increasing  number  of  posi- 


tions  for  life  with  pension  rights.  The  reform  works  out  in  such  a  way 
that  university-trained  officials,  just  as  incorruptible  and  quite  as  capable 
as  our  officials,  get  into  office.  Even  now  about  100,000  offices  have  ceased 
being  objects  of  booty  to  be  turned  over  after  elections.  Rather,  the 
offices  quahfy  their  holders  for  pensions,  and  are  based  upon  tested  quali- 
fications. The  spoils  system  will  thus  gradually  recede  into  the  back- 
ground and  the  nature  of  party  leadership  is  then  likely  to  be  transformed 
also — but  as  yet,  we  do  not  know  in  what  way. 

In  Germany,  until  now,  the  decisive  conditions  of  political  manage- 
ment have  been  in  essence  as  follows: 

First,  the  parliaments  have  been  impotent.  The  result  has  been  that 
no  man  with  the  qualities  of  a  leader  would  enter  Parhament  perma- 
nently. If  one  wished  to  enter  Parliament,  what  could  one  achieve  there  ? 
When  a  chancellery  position  was  open,  one  could  tell  the  administrative 
chief:  'I  have  a  very  able  man  in  my  election  district  who  would  be  suit- 
able; take  him.'  And  he  would  have  concurred  with  pleasure;  but  that 
was  about  all  that  a  German  member  of  Parliament  could  do  to  satisfy 
his  instincts  for  power — if  he  possessed  any. 

To  this  must  be  added  the  tremendous  importance  of  the  trained  ex- 
pert officialdom  in  Germany.  This  factor  determined  the  impotence  of 
Parhament.  Our  officialdom  was  second  to  none  in  the  world.  This  im- 
portance of  the  officialdom  was  accompanied  by  the  fact  that  the  officials 
claimed  not  only  official  positions  but  also  cabinet  positions  for  them- 
selves. In  the  Bavarian  state  legislature,  when  the  introduction  of  parlia- 
mentary government  was  debated  last  year,  it  was  said  that  if  members 
of  the  legislature  were  to  be  placed  in  cabinet  positions  talented  people 
would  no  longer  seek  official  careers.  Moreover,  the  civil-service  adminis- 
tration systematically  escaped  such  control  as  is  signified  by  the  English 
committee  discussions.  The  administration  thus  made  it  impossible  for 
parliaments — with  a  few  exceptions — to  train  really  useful  administrative 
chiefs  from  their  own  ranks. 

A  third  factor  is  that  in  Germany,  in  contrast  to  America,  we  have  had 
parties  with  principled  political  views  who  have  maintained  that  their 
members,  at  least  subjectively,  represented  bona-fide  Weltanschauungen. 
Now  then,  the  two  most  important  of  these  parties,  the  Catholic  Centre 
Party  and  the  Social  Democratic  party,  have,  from  their  inceptions,  been 
minority  parties  and  have  meant  to  be  minority  parties.  The  leading  circles 
of  the  Centre  party  in  the  Reich  have  never  concealed  their  opposition  to 
parliamentarian  democracy,  because  of  fear  of  remaining  in  the  minority 


and  thus  facing  great  difficulties  in  placing  their  job  hunters  in  office  as 
they  have  done  by  exerting  pressure  on  the  government.  The  Social 
Democratic  party  v^^as  a  principled  minority  party  and  a  handicap  to  the 
introduction  of  parliamentary  government  because  the  party  did  not 
wish  to  stain  itself  by  participating  in  the  existing  bourgeois  political 
order.  The  fact  that  both  parties  dissociated  themselves  from  the  parlia- 
mentary system  made  parliamentary  government  impossible. 

Considering  all  this,  what  then  became  of  the  professional  politicians 
in  Germany?  They  have  had  no  power,  no  responsibility,  and  could  play 
only  a  rather  subordinate  role  as  notables.  In  consequence,  they  have 
been  animated  anew  by  the  guild  instincts,  which  are  typical  everywhere. 
It  has  been  impossible  for  a  man  who  was  not  of  their  hue  to  climb 
high  in  the  circle  of  those  notables  who  made  their  petty  positions  their 
Hves.  I  could  mention  many  names  from  every  party,  the  Social  Demo- 
cratic party,  of  course,  not  excepted,  that  spell  tragedies  of  political 
careers  because  the  persons  had  leadership  qualities,  and  precisely  because 
of  these  qualities  were  not  tolerated  by  the  notables.  All  our  parties  have 
taken  this  course  of  development  and  have  become  guilds  of  notables. 
Bebel,  for  instance,  was  still  a  leader  through  temperament  and  purity 
of  character,  however  modest  his  intellect.  The  fact  that  he  was  a 
martyr,  that  he  never  betrayed  confidence  in  the  eyes  of  the  masses,  re- 
sulted in  his  having  the  masses  absolutely  behind  him.  There  was  no 
power  in  the  party  that  could  have  seriously  challenged  him.  Such  leader- 
ship came  to  an  end,  after  his  death,  and  the  rule  of  officials  began. 
Trade-union  officials,  party  secretaries,  and  journalists  came  to  the  top. 
The  instincts  of  officialdom  dominated  the  party — a  highly  respectable 
officialdom,  of  rare  respectability  one  may  say,  compared  to  conditions 
in  other  countries,  especially  the  often  corruptible  trade-union  officials  in 
America.  But  the  results  of  control  by  officialdom,  which  we  discussed 
above,  also  began  in  the  party. 

Since  the  eighteen-eighties  the  bourgeois  parties  have  completely  be- 
come guilds  of  notables.  To  be  sure,  occasionally  the  parties  had  to 
draw  on  extra-party  intellects  for  advertising  purposes,  so  that  they  could 
say,  'We  have  such  and  such  names.'  So  far  as  possible,  they  avoided 
letting  these  names  run  for  election;  only  when  it  was  unavoidable  and 
the  person  insisted  could  he  run  for  election.  The  same  spirit  prevailed 
in  Parliament.  Our  parliamentary  parties  were  and  are  guilds.  Every 
speech  delivered  from  the  floor  of  the  Reichstag  is  thoroughly  censored 
in  the  party  before  it  is  delivered.  This  is  obvious  from  their  unheard-of 


boredom.  Only  he  who  is  summoned  to  speak  can  have  the  word.  One 
can  hardly  conceive  of  a  stronger  contrast  to  the  English,  and  also — for 
quite  opposite  reasons — the  French  usage. 

Now,  in  consequence  of  the  enormous  collapse,  which  is  customarily 
called  the  Revolution,  perhaps  a  transformation  is  under  way.  Perhaps — 
but  not  for  certain.  In  the  beginning  there  were  new  kinds  of  party  ap- 
paratuses emerging.  First,  there  were  amateur  apparatuses.  They  are 
especially  often  represented  by  students  of  the  various  universities,  who 
tell  a  man  to  whom  they  ascribe  leadership  qualities:  we  want  to  do  the 
necessary  work  for  you;  carry  it  out.  Secondly,  there  are  apparatuses  of 
businessmen.  It  happened  that  men  to  whom  leadership  qualities  were 
ascribed  were  approached  by  people  willing  to  take  over  the  propaganda, 
at  fixed  rates  for  every  vote.  If  you  were  to  ask  me  honestly  which  of 
these  two  apparatuses  I  think  the  more  reliable,  from  the  purely  techni- 
cal-political point  of  view,  I  believe  I  would  prefer  the  latter.  But  both 
apparatuses  were  fast-emerging  bubbles,  which  swiftly  vanished  again. 
The  existing  apparatuses  transformed  themselves,  but  they  continued  to 
work.  The  phenomena  are  only  symptoms  of  the  fact  that  new  appa- 
ratuses would  come  about  if  there  were  only  leaders.  But  even  the 
technical  peculiarity  of  proportionate  representation  precluded  their 
ascendancy.  Only  a  few  dictators  of  the  street  crowds  arose  and  fell  again. 
And  only  the  following  of  a  mob  dictatorship  is  organized  in  a  strictly 
disciplined  fashion:  whence  the  power  of  these  vanishing  minorities. 

Let  us  assume  that  all  this  were  to  change;  then,  after  what  has  been 
said  above,  it  has  to  be  clearly  realized  that  the  plebiscitarian  leadership 
of  parties  entails  the  'soullessness'  of  the  following,  their  intellectual  pro- 
letarianization, one  might  say.  In  order  to  be  a  useful  apparatus,  a  ma- 
chine in  the  American  sense — undisturbed  either  by  the  vanity  of  no- 
tables or  pretensions  to  independent  views — the  following  of  such  a  leader 
must  obey  him  blindly.  Lincoln's  election  was  possible  only  through  this 
character  of  party  organization,  and  with  Gladstone,  as  mentioned  be- 
fore, the  same  happened  in  the  caucus.  This  is  simply  the  price  paid 
for  guidance  by  leaders.  However,  there  is  only  the  choice  between  leader- 
ship democracy  with  a  'machine'  and  leaderless  democracy,  namely,  the 
rule  of  professional  politicians  without  a  calling,  without  the  inner 
charismatic  qualities  that  make  a  leader,  and  this  means  what  the 
party  insurgents  in  the  situation  usually  designate  as  'the  rule  of  the 
clique.'  For  the  time  being,  we  in  Germany  have  only  the  latter.  For 
the  future,  the  permanence  of  this  situation,  at  least  in  the  Reich,  is  pri- 


marily  facilitated  by  the  fact  that  the  Bundesrat  ^  will  rise  again  and  will 
of  necessity  restrict  the  power  of  the  Reichstag  and  therewith  its  sig- 
nificance as  a  selective  agency  of  leaders.  Moreover,  in  its  present  form, 
proportional  representation  is  a  typical  phenomenon  of  leaderless  democ- 
racy. This  is  the  case  not  only  because  it  facilitates  the  horse-trading  of 
the  notables  for  placement  on  the  ticket,  but  also  because  in  the  future  it 
will  give  organized  interest  groups  the  possibility  of  compelling  parties  to 
include  their  officials  in  the  list  of  candidates,  thus  creating  an  unpolitical 
Parliament  in  which  genuine  leadership  finds  no  place.  Only  the  President 
of  the  Reich  could  become  the  safety-valve  of  the  demand  for  leadership 
if  he  were  elected  in  a  plebiscitarian  way  and  not  by  Parliament.  Lead- 
ership on  the  basis  of  proved  work  could  emerge  and  selection  could 
take  place,  especially  if,  in  great  municipalities,  the  plebiscitarian  city- 
manager  were  to  appear  on  the  scene  with  the  right  to  organize  his 
bureaus  independently.  Such  is  the  case  in  the  U.S.A.  whenever  one 
wishes  to  tackle  corruption  seriously.  It  requires  a  party  organization 
fashioned  for  such  elections.  But  the  very  petty-boucgeois  hostility  of 
all  parties  to  leaders,  the  Social  Democratic  party  certainly  included, 
leaves  the  future  formation  of  parties  and  all  these  chances  still  com- 
pletely in  the  dark. 

rrherefore,  today,  one  cannot  yet  see  in  any  way  how  the  manage- 
ment of  politics  as  a  'vocation'  will  shape  itself.  Even  less  can  one  see 
along  what  avenue  opportunities  are  opening  to  which  political  talents 
can  be  put  for  satisfactory  political  tasks.  He  who  by  his  material  circum- 
stances is  compelled  to  live  'off'  politics  will  almost  always  have  to  con- 
sider the  alternative  positions  of  the  journalist  or  the  party  official  as  the 
typical  direct  avenues.  Or,  he  must  consider  a  position  as  representative 
of  interest  groups — such  as  a  trade  union,  a  chamber  of  commerce,  a  farm 
bureau,*  a  craft  association,^  a  labor  board,  an  employer's  association, 
et  cetera,  or  else  a  suitable  municipal  position.  Nothing  more  than  this 
can  be  said  about  this  external  aspect:  in  common  with  the  journalist, 
the  party  official  bears  the  odium  of  being  declasse.  'Wage  writer'  or 
'wage  speaker'  will  unfortunately  always  resound  in  his  ears,  even 
though  the  words  remain  unexpressed.  He  who  is  inwardly  defenseless 
and  unable  to  find  the  proper  answer  for  himself  had.better  stay  away 
from  this  career.  For  in  any  case,  besides  grave  temptations,  it  is  an 
avenue  that  may  constantly  lead  to  disappointments.  Now  then,  what 
inner  enjoyments  can  this  career  offer  and  what  personal  conditions  are 
presupposed  for  one  who  enters  this  avenue? 


Well,  first  of  all  the  career  of  politics  grants  a  feeling  of  power.  The 
knowledge  of  influencing  men,  of  participating  in  power  over  them, 
and  above  all,  the  feeling  of  holding  in  one's  hands  a  nerve  fiber  of  his- 
torically important  events  can  elevate  the  professional  politician  above 
everyday  routine  even  when  he  is  placed  in  formally  modest  positions. 
But  now  the  question  for  him  is:  Through  what  qualities  can  I  hope  to 
do  justice  to  this  power  (however  narrowly  circumscribed  it  may  be  in 
the  individual  case)  ?  How  can  he  hope  to  do  justice  to  the  responsi- 
bility that  power  imposes  upon  him?  With  this  we  enter  the  field  of 
ethical  questions,  for  that  is  where  the  problem  belongs:  What  kind  of  a 
man  must  one  be  if  he  is  to  be  allowed  to  put  his  hand  on  the  wheel 
of  history? 

One  can  say  that  three  pre-eminent  qualities  are  decisive  for  the  poli- 
tician :  passion,  a  feeling  of  responsibility,  and  a  sense  of  proportion. 

This  means  passion  in  the  sense  of  matter-of-jactness,  of  passionate  de- 
votion to  a  'cause,'  to  the  god  or  demon  who  is  its  overlord.  It  is  not 
passion  in  the  sense  of  that  inner  bearing  which  my  late  friend,  Georg 
Simmel,  used  to  designate  as  'sterile  excitation,'  and  which  was  peculiar 
especially  to  a  certain  type  of  Russian  intellectual  (by  no  means  all  of 
them!).  It  is  an  excitation  that  plays  so  great  a  part  with  our  intellectuals 
in  this  carnival  we  decorate  with  the  proud  name  of  'revolution.'  It  is  a 
'romanticism  of  the  intellectually  interesting,'  running  into  emptiness 
devoid  of  all  feeling  of  objective  responsibility. 

To  be  sure,  mere  passion,  however  genuinely  felt,  is  not  enough.  It 
does  not  make  a  politician,  unless  passion  as  devotion  to  a  'cause'  also 
makes  responsibility  to  this  cause  the  guiding  star  of  action.  And  for  this, 
a  sense  of  proportion  is  needed.  This  is  the  decisive  psychological  quality 
of  the  poHtician:  his  ability  to  let  realities  woric  upon  him  with  inner 
concentration  and  calmness.  Hence  his  -distance  to  thino-s  and  men.  'Lack 


of  distance'  per  se  is  one  of  the  deadly  sins  of  every  politician.  It  is  one 
of  those  qualities  the  breeding  of  which  will  condemn  the  progeny  of 
our  intellectuals  to  political  incapacity.  For  the  problem  is  simply  how 
can  warm  passion  and  a  cool  sense  of  proportion  be  forged  together  in 
one  and  the  same  soul?  Politics  is  made  with  the  head,  not  with  other 
parts  of  the  body  or  soul.  And  yet  devotion  to  politics,  if  it  is  not  to  be 
frivolous  intellectual  play  but  rather  genuinely  human  conduct,  can  be 
born  and  nourished  from  passion  alone.-  However,  that  firm  taming  of 
the  soul,  which  distinguishes  the  passionate  politician  and  diflferentiates 
him  from  the  'sterilely  excited'  and  mere  political  dilettante,  is  possible 


only  through  habituation  to  detachment  in  every  sense  of  the  word.  The 
'strength'  of  a  pohtical  'personaHty'  means,  in  the  first  place,  the  posses- 
sion of  these  qualities  of  passion,  responsibility,  and  proportion. 

Therefore,  daily  and  hourly,  the  politician  inwardly  has  to  overcome 
a  quite  trivial  and  all-too-human  enemy:  a  quite  vulgar  vanity,  the 
deadly  enemy  of  all  matter-of-fact  devotion  to  a  cause,  and  of  all  dis- 
tance, in  this  case,  of  distance  towards  one's  self. 

Vanity  is  a  very  widespread  quality  and  perhaps  nobody  is  entirely 
free  from  it.  In  academic  and  scholarly  circles,  vanity  is  a  sort  of  occu- 
pational disease,  but  precisely  with  the  scholar,  vanity — however  disagree- 
ably it  may  express  itself — is  relatively  harmless;  in  the  sense  that  as  a 
rule  it  does  not  disturb  scientific  enterprise.  With  the  poHtician  the  case 
is  quite  different.  He  works  with  the  striving  for  power  as  an  unavoid- 
able means.  Therefore,  'power  instinct,'  as  is  usually  said,  belongs  indeed 
to  his  normal  qualities.  The  sin  against  the  lofty  spirit  of  his  vocation, 
however,  begins  where  this  striving  for  power  ceases  to  be  objective  and 
becomes  purely  personal  self-intoxication,  instead  of  exclusively  entering 
the  service  of  'the  cause.'  For  ultimately  there  are  only  two  kinds  of 
deadly  sins  in  the  field  of  politics:  lack  of  objectivity  and — often  but  not 
always  identical  with  it — irresponsibility.  Vanity,  the  need  personally  to 
stand  in  the  foreground  as  clearly  as  possible,  strongly  tempts  the  poli- 
tician to  commit  one  or  both  of  these  sins.  This  is  more  truly  the  case 
as  the  demagogue  is  compelled  to  count  upon  'effect.'  He  therefore 
is  constantly  in  danger  of  becoming  an  actor  as  well  as  taking  lightly 
the  responsibility  for  the  outcome  of  his  actions  and  of  being  concerned 
merely  with  the  'impression'  he  makes.  His  lack  of  objectivity  tempts 
him  to  strive  for  the  glamorous  semblance  of  power  rather  than  for 
actual  power.  His  irresponsibility,  however,  suggests  that  he  enjoy  power 
merely  for  power's  sake  without  a  substantive  purpose.  Although,  or 
rather  just  because,  power  is  the  unavoidable  means,  and  striving  for 
power  is  one  of  the  driving  forces  of  all  politics,  there  is  no  more  harmful 
distortion  of  political  force  than  the  parvenu-like  braggart  with  power, 
and  the  vain  self-reflection  in  the  feeling  of  power,  and  in  general 
every  worship  of  power  per  se.  The  mere  'power  politician'  may  get 
strong  effects,  but  actually  his  work  leads  nowhere  and  is  seifseless. 
(Among  us,  too,  an  ardently  promoted  cult  seeks  to  glorify  him.)  In  this, 
the  critics  of  'power  politics'  are  absolutely  right.  From  the  sudden 
inner  collapse  of  typical  representatives  of  this  mentality,  we  can  see 
what  inner  weakness  and  impotence  hides  behind  this  boastful  but  en- 


tirely  empty  gesture.  It  is  a  product  of  a  shoddy  and  superficially 
blase  attitude  towards  the  meaning  of  human  conduct;  and  it  has  no  re- 
lation whatsoever  to  the  knowledge  of  tragedy  with  which  all  action, 
but  especially  political  action,  is  truly  interwoven. 

The  final  result  of  political  action  often,  no,  even  regularly,  stands 
in  completely  inadequate  and  often  even  paradoxical  relation  to  its 
original  meaning.  This  is  fundamental  to  all  history,  a  point  not  to  be 
proved  in  detail  here.  But  because  of  this  fact,  the  serving  of  a  cause 
must  not  be  absent  if  action  is  to  have  inner  strength.  Exactly  what 
the  cause,  in  the  service  of  which  the  politician  strives  for  power  and 
uses  power,  looks  like  is  a  matter  of  faith.  The  politician  may  serve 
national,  humanitarian,  social,  ethical,  cultural,  worldly,  or  religious 
ends.  The  politician  may  be  sustained  by  a  strong  belief  in  'progress' — 
no  matter  in  which  sense — or  he  may  coolly  reject  this  kind  of  belief. 
He  may  claim  to  stand  in  the  service  of  an  'idea'  or,  rejecting  this  in 
principle,  he  may  want  to  serve  external  ends  of  everyday  life.  However, 
some  kind  of  faith  must  always  exist.  Otherwise,  it  is  absolutely  true  that 
the  curse  of  the  creature's  worthlessness  overshadows  even  the  externally 
strongest  political  successes. 

With  the  statement  above  we  are  already  engaged  in  discussing  the 
last  problem  that  concerns  us  tonight:  the  ethos  of  politics  as  a  'cause.' 
What  calling  can  politics  fulfil  quite  independently  of  its  goals  within 
the  total  ethical  economy  of  human  conduct — which  is,  so  to  speak, 
the  ethical  locus  where  politics  is  at  home?  Here,  to  be  sure,  ultimate 
W eltanschauungen  clash,  world  views  among  which  in  the  end  one  has 
to  make  a  choice.  Let  us  resolutely  tackle  this  problem,  which  recently 
has  been  opened  again,  in  my  view  in  a  very  wrong  way. 

But  first,  let  us  free  ourselves  from  a  quite  trivial  falsification:  namely, 
that  ethics  may  first  appear  in  a  morally  highly  compromised  role.  Let 
us  consider  examples.  Rarely  will  you  find  that  a  man  whose  love  turns 
from  one  woman  to  another  feels  no  need  to  legitimate  this  before  him- 
self by  saying:  she  was  not  worthy  of  my  love,  or,  she  has  disappointed 
me,  or  whatever  other  like  'reasons'  exist.  This  is  an  attitude  that,  with 
a  profound  lack  of  chivalry,  adds  a  fancied  'legitimacy'  to  the  plain  fact 
that  he  no  longer  loves  her  and  that  the  woman  has  to  bear  it.  By  virtue 
of  this  'legitimation,'  the  man  claims  a  right  for  himself  and  besides 
causing  the  misfortune  seeks  to  put  her  in  the  wrong.  The  successful 
amatory  competitor  proceeds  exactly  in  the  same  way:  namely,  the 
opponent  must  be  less  worthy,  otherwise  he  would  not  have  lost  out. 


It  is  no  different,  of  course,  if  after  a  victorious  war  the  victor  in  undig- 
nified self-righteousness  claims,  'I  have  won  because  I  was  right.'  Or, 
if  somebody  under  the  frightfulness  of  war  collapses  psychologically,  and 
instead  of  simply  saying  it  was  just  too  much,  he  feels  the  need  of  legiti- 
mizing his  war  weariness  to  himself  by  substituting  the  feeling,  'I  could 
not  bear  it  because  I  had  to  fight  for  a  morally  bad  cause.'  And  likewise 
with  the  defeated  in  war.  Instead  of  searching  like  old  women  for  the 
'guilty  one'  after  the  war — in  a  situation  in  which  the  structure  of  society 
produced  the  war — everyone  with  a  manly  and  controlled  attitude  would 
tell  the  enemy,  'We  lost  the  war.  You  have  won  it.  That  is  now  all  over. 
Now  let  us  discuss  what  conclusions  must  be  drawn  according  to  the 
objective  interests  that  came  into  play  and  what  is  the  main  thing  in 
view  of  the  responsibility  towards  the  future  which  above  all  burdens 
the  victor.'  Anything  else  is  undignified  and  will  become  a  boomerang. 
A  nation  forgives  if  its  interests  have  been  damaged,  but  no  nation 
forgives  if  its  honor  has  been  offended,  especially  by  a  bigoted  self- 
righteousness.  Every  new  document  that  comes  to  light  after  decades 
revives  the  undignified  lamentations,  the  hatred  and  scorn,  instead  of 
allowing  the  war  at  its  end  to  be  buried,  at  least  morally.  This  is  possible 
only  through  objectivity  and  chivalry  and  above  all  only  through  dig- 
nity. But  never  is  it  possible  through  an  'ethic,'  which  in  truth  signifies 
a  lack  of  dignity  on  both  sides.  Instead  of  being  concerned  about  what 
the  politician  is  interested  in,  the  future  and  the  responsibility  towards 
the  future,  this  ethic  is  concerned  about  politically  sterile  questions  of 
past  guilt,  which  are  not  to  be  settled  politically.  To  act  in  this  way  is 
politically  guilty,  if  such  guilt  exists  at  all.  And  it  overlooks  the  unavoid- 
able falsification  of  the  whole  problem,  through  very  material  interests: 
namely,  the  victor's  interest  in  the  greatest  possible  moral  and  material 
gain;  the  hopes  of  the  defeated  to  trade  in  advantages  through  confes- 
sions of  guilt.  If  anything  is  'vulgar,'  then,  this  is,  and  it  is  the  result  of 
this  fashion  of  exploiting  'ethics'  as  a  means  of  'being  in  the  right.' 

Now  then,  what  relations  do  ethics  and  politics  actually  have.''  Have 
the  two  nothing  whatever  to  do  with  one  another,  as  has  occasionally 
been  said?  Or,  is  the  reverse  true:  that  the  ethic  of  political  conduct  is 
identical  with  that  of  any  other  conduct  ?  Occasionally  an  exclusive  choice 
has  been  believed  to  exist  between  the  two  propositions — either  the  one 
or  the  other  proposition  must  be  correct.  But  is  it  true  that  any  ethic 
of  the  world  could  establish  commandments  of  identical  content  for 
erotic,  business,  familial,  and  official  relations;  for  the  relations  to  one's 


wife,  to  the  greengrocer,  the  son,  the  competitor,  the  friend,  the  defend- 
ant? Should  it  really  matter  so  little  for  the  ethical  demands  on  politics 
that  politics  operates  with  very  special  means,  namely,  power  backed  up 
by  violence?  Do  we  not  see  that  the  Bolshevik  and  the  Spartacist  ideolo- 
gists bring  about  exactly  the  same  results  as  any  militaristic  dictator  just 
because  they  use  this  political  means?  In  what  but  the  persons  of  the 
power-holders  and  their  dilettantism  does  the  rule  of  the  workers'  and 
soldiers'  councils  differ  from  the  rule  of  any  power-holder  of  the  old 
regime?  In  what  way  does  the  polemic  of  most  representatives  of  the 
presumably  new  ethic  differ  'from  that  of  the  opponents  which  they 
criticized,  or  the  ethic  of  any  other  demagogues  ?  In  their  noble  intention, 
people  will  say.  Good!  But  it  is  the  means  about  which  we  speak  here, 
and  the  adversaries,  in  complete  subjective  sincerity,  claim,  in  the  very 
same  way,  that  their  ultimate  intentions  are  of  lofty  character.  'All  they 
that  take  the  sword  shall  perish  with  the  sword'  and  fighting  is  every- 
where fighting.  Hence,  the  ethic  of  the  Sermon  on  the  Mount. 

By  the  Sermon  on  the  Mount,  we  mean  the  absolute  ethic  of  the 
gospel,  which  is  a  more  serious  matter  than  those  who  are  fond  of 
quoting  these  commandments  today  believe.  This  ethic  is  lio  joking 
matter.  The  same  holds  for  this  ethic  as  has  been  said  of  causality  in 
science:  it  is  not  a  cab,  which  one  can  have  stopped  at  one's  pleasure;  it  is 
all  or  nothing.  This  is  precisely  the  meaning  of  the  gospel,  if  trivialities 
are  not  to  result.  Hence,  for  instance,  it  was  said  of  the  wealthy  young 
man,  'He  went  away  sorrowful :  for  he  had  great  possessions.'  The  evange- 
list commandment,  however,  is  unconditional  and  unambiguous:  give 
what  thou  hast — absolutely  everything.  The  politician  will  say  that  this 
is  a  socially  senseless  imposition  as  long  as  it  is  not  carried  out  every- 
where. Thus  the  politician  upholds  taxation,  confiscatory  taxation,  out- 
right confiscation;  in  a  word,  compulsion  and  regulation  for  all.  The 
ethical  commandment,  however,  is  not  at  all  concerned  about  that,  and 
this  unconcern  is  its  essence.  Or,  take  the  example,  'turn  the  other 
cheek':  This  command  is  unconditional  and  does  not  question  the  source 
of  the  other's  authority  to  strike.  Except  for  a  saint  it  is  an  ethic  of 
indignity.  This  is  it:  one  must  be  saintly  in  everything;  at  least  in  inten- 
tion, one  must  live  like  Jesus,  the  apostles,  St.  Francis,  and  their  like. 
Then  this  ethic  makes  sense  and  expresses  a  kind  of  dignity;  otherwise 
it  does  not.  For  if  it  is  said,  in  line  with  the  acosmic  ethic  of  love, 
'Resist  not  him  that  is  evil  with  force,'  for  the  politician  the  reverse 
proposition  holds,  'thou  shalt  resist  evil  by  force,'  or  else  you  are  re- 


sponsible  for  the  evil  winning  out.  He  who  wishes  to  follow  the  ethic 
of  the  gospel  should  abstain  from  strikes,  for  strikes  mean  compulsion; 
he  may  join  the  company  unions.  Above  all  things,  he  should  not  talk 
of  'revolution.'  After  all,  the  ethic  of  the  gospel  does  not  wish  to  teach 
that  civil  war  is  the  only  legitimate  war.  The  pacifist  who  follows  the 
gospel  will  refuse  to  bear  arms  or  will  throw  them  down;  in  Germany 
this  was  the  recommended  ethical  duty  to  end  the  war  and  therewith  all 
wars.  The  politician  would  say  the  only  sure  means  to  discredit  the 
war  for  all  foreseeable  time  would  have  been  a  status  quo  peace.  Then 
the  nations  would  have  questioned,  what  was  this  war  for?  And  then 
the  war  would  have  been  argued  ad  ahsurdum,  which  is  now  impossible. 
For  the  victors,  at  least  for  part  of  them,  the  war  will  have  been  politically 
profitable.  And  the  responsibility  for  this  rests  on  behavior  that  made  all 
resistance  impossible  for  us.  Now,  as  a  result  of  the  ethics  of  absolutism, 
when  the  period  of  exhaustion  will  have  passed,  the  peace  will  be  dis- 
credited, not  the  war. 

Finally,  let  us  consider  the  duty  of  truthfulness.  For  the  absolute  ethic 
it  holds  unconditionally.  Hence  the  conclusion  was  reached  to  publish 
all  documents,  especially  those  placing  blame  on  one's  own  country.  On 
the  basis  of  these  one-sided  publications  the  confessions  of  guilt  followed 
— and  they  were  one-sided,  unconditional,  and  without  regard  to  con- 
sequences. The  politician  will  find  that  as  a  result  truth  will  not  be 
furthered  but  certainly  obscured  through  abuse  and  unleashing  of  pas- 
sion; only  an  all-round  methodical  investigation  by  non-partisans  could 
bear  fruit;  any  other  procedure  may  have  consequences  for  a  nation 
that  cannot  be  remedied  for  decades.  But  the  absolute  ethic  just  does  not 
asJ{^  for  'consequences.'  That  is  the  decisive  point. 

We  must  be  clear  about  the  fact  that  all  ethically  oriented  conduct  may 
be  guided  by  one  of  two  fundamentally  differing  and  irreconcilably  op- 
posed maxims:  conduct  can  be  oriented  to  an  'ethic  of  ultimate  ends' 
or  to  an  'ethic  of  responsibility.'  This  is  not  to  say  that  an  ethic  of  ultimate 
ends  is  identical  with  irresponsibility,  or  that  an  ethic  of  responsibility 
is  identical  with  unprincipled  opportunism.  Naturally  nobody  says  that. 
However,  there  is  an  abysmal  contrast  between  conduct  that  follows  the 
maxim  of  an  ethic  of  ultimate  ends — that  is,  in  religious  terms,  'The 
Christian  does  rightly  and  leaves  the  results  with  the  Lord' — and  conduct 
that  follows  the  maxim  of  an  ethic  of  responsibility,  in  which  case  one 
has  to  give  an  account  of  the  foreseeable  results  of  one's  action. 

You  may  demonstrate  to  a  convinced  syndicalist,  believing  in  an  ethic 


of  ultimate  ends,  that  his  action  will  result  in  increasing  the  oppor- 
tunities of  reaction,  in  increasing  the  oppression  of  his  class,  and  ob- 
structing its  ascent — and  you  will  not  make  the  slightest  impression  upon 
him.  If  an  action  of  good  intent  leads  to  bad  results,  then,  in  the  actor's 
eyes,  not  he  but  the  world,  or  the  stupidity  of  other  men,  or  God's  will 
who  made  them  thus,  is  responsible  for  the  evil.  However  a  man  who 
believes  in  an  ethic  of  responsibility  takes  account  of  precisely  the  aver- 
age deficiences  of  people;  as  Fichte  has  correctly  said,  he  does  not  even 
have  the  right  to  presuppose  their  goodness  and  perfection.  He  does  not 
feel  in  a  position  to  burden  others  with  the  results  of  his  own  actions  so 
far  as  he  was  able  to  foresee  them;  he  will  say:  these  results  are  ascribed 
to  my  action.  The  believer  in  an  ethic  of  ultimate  ends  feels  'responsible' 
only  for  seeing  to  it  that  the  flame  of  pure  intentions  is  not  quelched: 
for  example,  the  flame  of  protesting  against  the  injustice  of  the  social 
order.  To  rekindle  the  flame  ever  anew  is  the  purpose  of  his  quite 
irrational  deeds,  judged  in  view  of  their  possible  success.  They  are  acts 
that  can  and  shall  have  only  exemplary  value. 

But  even  herewith  the  problem  is  not  yet  exhausted.  No  ethics  in  the 
world  can  dodge  the  fact  that  in  numerous  instances  the  attainment  of 
'good'  ends  is  bound  to  the  fact  that  one  must  be  willing  to  pay  the 
price  of  using  morally  dubious  means  or  at  least  dangerous  ones — and 
facing  the  possibility  or  even  the  probability  of  evil  ramifications.  From 
no  ethics  in  the  world  can  it  be  concluded  when  and  to  what  extent 
the  ethically  good  purpose  'justifies'  the  ethically  dangerous  means  and 

The  decisive  means  for  politics  is  violence.  You  may  see  the  extent 
of  the  tension  between  means  and  ends,  when  viewed  ethically,  from  the 
following:  as  is  generally  known,  even  during  the  war  the  revolutionary 
socialists  (Zimmerwald  faction)  professed  a  principle  that  one  might 
strikingly  formulate:  'If  we  face  the  choice  either  of  some  more  years 
of  war  and  then  revolution,  or  peace  now  and  no  revolution,  we  choose — 
some  more  years  of  war!'  Upon  the  further  question:  'What  can  this 
revolution  bring  about?'  every  scientifically  trained  socialist  would  have 
had  the  answer:  One  cannot  speak  of  a  transition  to  an  economy  that 
in  our  sense  could  be  called  socialist;  a  bourgeois  economy  will  re-emerge, 
merely  stripped  of  the  feudal  elements  and  the  dynastic  vestiges.  For  this 
very  modest  result,  they  are  willing  to  face  'some  more  years  of  war.'  One 
may  well  say  that  even  with  a  very  robust  socialist  conviction  one  might 
reject  a  purpose  that  demands  such  means.  With  Bolshevism  and  Spar- 


tacism,  and,  in  general,  with  any  kind  of  revolutionary  socialism,  it  is  pre- 
cisely the  same  thing.  It  is  of  course  utterly  ridiculous  if  the  power  poli- 
ticians of  the  old  regime  are  morally  denounced  for  their  use  of  the 
same  means,  however  justified  the  rejection  of  their  aims  may  be. 

The  ethic  of  ultimate  ends  apparently  must  go  to  pieces  on  the  problem 
of  the  justification  of  means  by  ends.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  logically  it  has 
only  the  possibility  of  rejecting  all  action  that  employs  morally  dangerous 
means — in  theory!  In  the  world  of  realities,  as  a  rule,  we  encounter  the 
ever-renewed  experience  that  the  adherent  of  an  ethic  of  ultimate  ends 
suddenly  turns  into  a  chiliastic  prophet.  Those,  for  example,  who  have 
just  preached  'love  against  violence'  now  call  for  the  use  of  force  for  the 
last  violent  deed,  which  would  then  lead  to  a  state  of  affairs  in  which  all 
violence  is  annihilated.  In  the  same  manner,  our  officers  told  the  soldiers 
before  every  offensive:  'This  will  be  the  last  one;  this  one  will  bring 
victory  and  therewith  peace.'  The  proponent  of  an  ethic  of  absolute  ends 
cannot  stand  up  under  the  ethical  irrationality  of  the  world.  He  is  a 
cosmic-ethical  'rationalist.'  Those  of  you  who  know  Dostoievski  will  re- 
member the  scene  of  the  'Grand  Inquisitor,'  where  the  problem  is  poign- 
antly unfolded.  If  one  makes  any  concessions  at  all  to  the  principle 
that  the  end  justifies  the  means,  it  is  not  possible  to  bring  an  ethic 
of  ultimate  ends  and  an  ethic  of  responsibility  under  one  roof  or  to 
decree  ethically  which  end  should  justify  which  means. 

My  colleague,  Mr.  F.  W.  Forster,  whom  personally  I  highly  esteem 
for  his  undoubted  sincerity,  but  whom  I  reject  unreservedly  as  a  politi- 
cian, beheves  it  is  possible  to  get  around  this  difficulty  by  the  simple 
thesis:  'from  good  comes  only  good;  but  from  evil  only  evil  follows.' 
In  that  case  this  whole  complex  of  questions  would  not  exist.  But  it  is 
rather  astonishing  that  such  a  thesis  could  come  to  light  two  thousand 
five  hundred  years  after  the  Upanishads.  Not  only  the  whole  course  of 
world  history,  but  every  frank  examination  of  everyday  experience 
points  to  the  very  opposite.  The  development  of  religions  all  over  the 
world  is  determined  by  the  fact  that  the  opposite  is  true.  The  age-old 
problem  of  theodicy  consists  of  the  very  question  of  how  it  is  that  a 
power  which  is  said  to  be  at  once  omnipotent  and  kind  could  have 
created  such  an  irrational  world  of  undeserved  suffering,  unpunished 
injustice,  and  hopeless  stupidity.  Either  this  power  is  not  omnipotent  or 
not  kind,  or,  entirely  different  principles  of  compensation  and  reward 
govern  our  life — principles  we  may  interpret  metaphysically,  or  even 
principles  that  forever  escape  our  comprehension. 


This  problem — the  experience  of  the  irrationahty  of  the  world — has 
been  the  driving  force  of  all  religious  evolution.  The  Indian  doctrine  of 
karma,  Persian  dualism,  the  doctrine  of  original  sin,  predestination 
and  the  deiis  ahsconditiis,  all  these  have  grown  out  of  this  experience. 
Also  the  early  Christians  knew  full  well  the  world  is  governed  by 
demons  and  that  he  who  lets  himself  in  for  politics,  that  is,  for  power  and 
force  as  means,  contracts  with  diabolical  powers  and  for  his  action  it  is 
not  true  that  good  can  follow  only  from  good  and  evil  only  from  evil, 
but  that  often  the  opposite  is  true.  Anyone  who  fails  to  see  this  is, 
indeed,  a  political  infant. 

We  are  placed  into  various  life-spheres,  each  of  which  is  governed 
by  different  laws.  Religious  ethics  have  settled  with  this  fact  in  different 
ways.  Hellenic  polytheism  made  sacrifices  to  Aphrodite  and  Hera  ahke, 
to  Dionysus  and  to  Apollo,  and  knew  these  gods  were  frequently  in  con- 
flict with  one  another.  The  Hindu  order  of  life  made  each  of  the  differ- 
ent occupations  an  object  of  a  specific  ethical  code,  a  Dharma,  and  for- 
ever segregated  one  from  the  other  as  castes,  thereby  placing  them  into 
a  fixed  hierarchy  of  rank.  For  the  man  born  into  it,  there  was  no  escape 
from  it,  lest  he  be  twice-born  in  another  life.  The  occupations  were  thus 
placed  at  varying  distances  from  the  highest  religious  goods  of  salva- 
tion. In  this  way,  the  caste  order  allowed  for  the  possibility  of  fashioning 
the  Dharma  of  each  single  caste,  from  those  of  the  ascetics  and  Brahmins 
to  those  of  the  rogues  and  harlots,  in  accordance  with  the  immanent  and 
autonomous  laws  of  their  respective  occupations.  War  and  politics  were 
also  included.  You  will  find  war  integrated  into  the  totality  of  life-spheres 
in  the  Bhagavad-Gita,  in  the  conversation  between  Krishna  and  Arduna. 
'Do  what  must  be  done,'  i.e.  do  that  work  which,  according  to  the 
Dharma  of  the  warrior  caste  and  its  rules,  is  obligatory  and  which,  ac- 
cording to  the  purpose  of  the  war,  is  objectively  necessary.  Hinduism  be- 
lieves that  such  conduct  does  not  damage  religious  salvation  but,  rather, 
promotes  it.  When  he  faced  the  hero's  death,  the  Indian  warrior  was 
always  sure  of  Indra's  heaven,  just  as  was  the  Teuton  warrior  of  Val- 
halla. The  Indian  hero  would  have  despised  Nirvana  just  as  much  as  the 
Teuton  would  have  sneered  at  the  Christian  paradise  with  its  angels' 
choirs.  This  specialization  of  ethics  allowed  for  the  Indian  ethic's  quite 
unbroken  treatment  of  politics  by  following  poHtics'  own  laws  and  even 
radically  enhancing  this  royal  art. 

A  really  radical  'Machiavellianism,'  in  the  popular  sense  of  this  word, 
is  classically  represented  in  Indian  literature,  in  the  Kautaliya  Arthasastra 


(long  before  Christ,  allegedly  dating  from  Chandragupta's  time).  In  con- 
trast with  this  document  Machiavelli's  Principe  is  harmless.  As  is  known 
in  Catholic  ethics — to  which  otherwise  Professor  Forster  stands  close — 
the  consilia  evangelica  are  a  special  ethic  for  those  endowed  with  the 
charisma  of  a  holy  life.  There  stands  the  monk  who  must  not  shed 
blood  or  strive  for  gain,  and  beside  him  stand  the  pious  knight  and  the 
burgher,  who  are  allowed  to  do  so,  the  one  to  shed  blood,  the  other  to 
pursue  gain.  The  gradation  of  ethics  and  its  organic  integration  into  the 
doctrine  of  salvation  is  less  consistent  than  in  India.  According  to  the 
presuppositions  of  Christian  faith,  this  could  and  had  to  be  the  case. 
The  wickedness  of  the  world  stemming  from  original  sin  allowed  with 
relative  ease  the  integration  of  violence  into  ethics  as  a  disciplinary  means 
against  sin  and  against  the  heretics  who  endangered  the  soul.  However, 
the  demands  of  the  Sermon  on  the  Mount,  an  acosmic  ethic  of  ulti- 
mate ends,  implied  a  natural  law  of  absolute  imperatives  based  upon 
religion.  These  absolute  imperatives  retained  their  revolutionizing  force 
and  they  came  upon  the  scene  with  elemental  vigor  during  almost  all 
periods  of  social  upheaval.  They  produced  especially  the  radical  pacifist 
sects,  one  of  which  in  Pennsylvania  experimented  in  establishing  a  polity 
that  renounced  violence  towards  the  outside.  This  experiment  took  a 
tragic  course,  inasmuch  as  with  the  outbreak  of  the  War  of  Independence 
the  Quakers  could  not  stand  up  arms-in-hand  for  their  ideals,  which 
were  those  of  the  war. 

Normally,  Protestantism,  however,  absolutely  legitimated  the  state  as  a 
divine  institution  and  hence  violence  as  a  means.  Protestantism,  espe- 
cially, legitimated  the  authoritarian  state.  Luther  relieved  the  individual 
of  the  ethical  responsibility  for  war  and  transferred  it  to  the  authorities. 
To  obey  the  authorities  in  matters  other  than  those  of  faith  could  never 
constitute  guilt.  Calvinism  in  turn  knew  principled  violence  as  a  means 
of  defending  the  faith;  thus  Calvinism  knew  the  crusade,  which  was 
for  Islam  an  element  of  life  from  the  beginning.  One  sees  that  it  is  by 
no  means  a  modern  disbehef  born  from  the  hero  worship  of  the  Renais- 
sance which  poses  the  problem  of  political  ethics.  All  religions  have 
wrestled  with  it,  with  highly  differing  success,  and  after  what  has  been 
said  it  could  not  be  otherwise.  It  is  the  specific  means  of  legitimate 
violence  as  such  in  the  hand  of  human  associations  which  determines 
the  peculiarity  of  all  ethical  problems  of  politics. 

Whosoever  contracts  with  violent  means  for  whatever  ends — and  every 
poUtician  does — is  exposed  to  its  specific  consequences.  This  holds  espe- 


cially  for  the  crusader,  religious  and  revolutionary  alike.  Let  us  confi- 
dently take  the  present  as  an  example.  He  who  wants  to  establish  abso- 
lute justice  on  earth  by  force  requires  a  following,  a  human  'machine.' 
He  must  hold  out  the  necessary  internal  and  external  premiums,  heavenly 
or  worldly  reward,  to  this  'machine'  or  else  the  machine  will  not  func- 
tion. Under  the  conditions  of  the  modern  class  struggle,  the  internal 
premiums  consist  oi.  the  satisfying  of  hatred  and  the  craving  for  re- 
venge; above  all,  resentment  and  the  need  for  pseudo-ethical  self-right- 
eousness: the  opponents  must  be  slandered  and  accused  of  heresy.  The 
external  rewards  are  adventure,  victory,  booty,  power,  and  spoils.  The 
leader  and  his  success  are  completely  dependent  upon  the  functioning  of 
his  machine  and  hence  not  on  his  own  motives.  Therefore  he  also  de- 
pends upon  whether  or  not  the  premiums  can  be  permanently  granted 
to  the  following,  that  is,  to  the  Red  Guard,  the  informers,  the  agitators, 
whom  he  needs.  What  he  actually  attains  under  the  conditions  of  his 
work  is  therefore  not  in  his  hand,  but  is  prescribed  to  him  by  the  foUow- 
ing's  motives,  which,  if  viewed  ethically,  are  predominantly  base.  The 
following  can  be  harnessed  only  so  long  as  an  honest  belief  in  his  person 
and  his  cause  inspires  at  least  part  of  the  following,  probably  never  on 
earth  even  the  majority.  This  belief,  even  when  subjectively  sincere,  is  in 
a  very  great  number  of  cases  really  no  more  than  an  ethical  'legitimation' 
of  cravings  for  revenge,  power,  booty,  and  spoils.  We  shall  not  be  de- 
ceived about  this  by  verbiage;  the  materialist  interpretation  of  history  is 
no  cab  to  be  taken  at  will;  it  does  not  stop  short  of  the  promoters  of 
revolutions.  Emotional  revolutionism  is  followed  by  the  traditionalist 
routine  of  everyday  life;  the  crusading  leader  and  the  faith  itself  fade 
away,  or,  what  is  even  more  effective,  the  faith  becomes  part  of  the  con- 
ventional phraseology  of  political  Philistines  and  banausic  technicians. 
This  development  is  especially  rapid  with  struggles  of  faith  because  they 
are  usually  led  or  inspired  by  genuine  leaders,  that  is,  prophets  of  revolu- 
tion. For  here,  as  with  every  leader's  machine,  one  of  the  conditions  for 
success  is  the  depersonalization  and  routinization,  in  short,  the  psychic 
proletarianization,  in  the  interests  of  discipline.  After  coming  to  power  the 
following  of  a  crusader  usually  degenerates  very  easily  into  a  quite  com- 
mon stratum  of  spoilsmen. 

Whoever  wants  to  engage  in  politics  at  all,  and  especially  in  politics 
as  a  vocation,  has  to  realize  these  ethical  paradoxes.  He  must  know  that 
he  is  responsible  for  what  may  become  of  himself  under  the  impact  of 
these  paradoxes.  I  repeat,  he  lets  himself  in  for  the  diabolic  forces  lurking 


in  all  violence.  The  great  virtuosi  of  acosmic  love  of  humanity  and  good- 
ness, whether  stemming  from  Nazareth  or  Assisi  or  from  Indian  royal 
castles,  have  not  operated  with  the  political  means  of  violence.  Their 
kingdom  was  'not  of  this  world'  and  yet  they  worked  and  still  work 
in  this  world.  The  figures  of  Platon  Karatajev  and  the  saints  of  Dostoiev- 
ski  still  remain  their  most  adequate  reconstructions.  He  who  seeks 
the  salvation  of  the  soul,  of  his  own  and  of  others,  should  not  seek 
it  along  the  avenue  of  politics,  for  the  quite  different  tasks  of  politics 
can  only  be  solved  by  violence.  The  genius  or  demon  of  politics  lives  in 
an  inner  tension  with  the  god  of  love,  as  well  as  with  the  Christian  God 
as  expressed  by  the  church.  This  tension  can  at  any  time  lead  to  an 
irreconcilable  conflict.  Men  knew  this  even  in  the  times  of  church  rule. 
Time  and  again  the  papal  interdict  was  placed  upon  Florence  and  at 
the  time  it  meant  a  far  more  robust  power  for  men  and  their  salvation 
of  soul  than  (to  speak  with  Fichte)  the  'cool  approbation'  of  the  Kantian 
ethical  judgment.  The  burghers,  however,  fought  the  church-state.  And 
it  is  with  reference  to  such  situations  that  Machiavelli  in  a  beautiful 
passage,  if  I  am  not  mistaken,  of  the  History  of  Florence,  has  one  of  his 
heroes  praise  those  citizens  who  deemed  the  greatness  of  their  native 
city  higher  than  the  salvation  of  their  souls. 

If  one  says  'the  future  of  socialism'  or  'international  peace,'  instead  of 
native  city  or  'fatherland'  (which  at  present  may  be  a  dubious  value 
to  some),  then  you  face  the  problem  as  it  stands  now.  Everything  that 
is  striven  for  through  political  action  operating  with  violent  means  and 
following  an  ethic  of  responsibility  endangers  the  'salvation  of  the  soul.' 
If,  however,  one  chases  after  the  ultimate  good  in  a  war  of  beliefs,  fol- 
lowing a  pure  ethic  of  absolute  ends,  then  the  goals  may  be  damaged 
and  discredited  for  generations,  because  responsibility  for  consequences 
is  lacking,  and  two  diabolic  forces  which  enter  the  play  remain  un- 
known to  the  actor.  These  are  inexorable  and  produce  consequences  for 
his  action  and  even  for  his  inner  self,  to  which  he  must  helplessly  sub- 
mit, unless  he  perceives  them.  The  sentence:  'The  devil  is  old;  grow  old 
to  understand  him!'  does  not  refer  to  age  in  terms  of  chronological  years. 
I  have  never  permitted  myself  to  lose  out  in  a  discussion  through  a 
reference  to  a  date  registered  on  a  birth  certificate;  but  the  mere  fact 
that  someone  is  twenty  years  of  age  and  that  I  am  over  fifty  is  no 
cause  for  me  to  think  that  this  alone  is  an  achievement  before  which  I  am 
overawed.  Age  is  not  decisive;  what  is  decisive  is  th'e  trained  relentless- 


ness  in  viewing  the  realities  of  life,  and  the  ability  to  face  such  realities 
and  to  measure  up  to  them  inwardly. 

Surely,  politics  is  made  with  the  head,  but  it  is  certainly  not  made 
with  the  head  alone.  In  this  the  proponents  of  an  ethic  of  ultimate  ends 
are  right.  One  cannot  prescribe  to  anyone  whether  he  should  follow  an 
ethic  of  absolute  ends  or  an  ethic  of  responsibility,  or  when  the  one 
and  when  the  other.  One  can  say  only  this  much:  If  in  these  times, 
which,  in  your  opinion,  are  not  times  of  'sterile'  excitation — excitation  is 
not,  after  all,  genuine  passion — if  now  suddenly  the  W eltanschauungs- 
politicians  crop  up  en  masse  and  pass  the  watchword,  'The  world  is 
stupid  and  base,  not  I,'  'The  responsibility  for  the  consequences  does 
not  fall  upon  me  but  upon  the  others  whom  I  serve  and  whose  stupidity 
or  baseness  I  shall  eradicate,'  then  I  declare  frankly  that  I  would  first 
inquire  into  the  degree  of  inner  poise  backing  this  ethic  of  ultimate 
ends.  I  am  under  the  impression  that  in  nine  out  of  ten  cases  I  deal  with 
windbags  who  do  not  fully  realize  what  they  take  upon  themselves  but 
who  intoxicate  themselves  with  romantic  sensations.  From  a  human 
point  of  view  this  is  not  very  interesting  to  me,  nor  does  it  move  me 
profoundly.  However,  it  is  immensely  moving  when  a  mature  man — 
no  matter  whether  old  or  young  in  years — is  aware  of  a  responsibility 
for  the  consequences  of  his  conduct  and  really  feels  such  responsibility 
with  heart  and  soul.  He  then  acts  by  following  an  ethic  of  responsibility 
and  somewhere  he  reaches  the  point  where  he  says:  'Here  I  stand;  I  can 
do  no  other.'  That  is  something  genuinely  human  and  moving.  And 
every  one  of  us  who  is  not  spiritually  dead  must  realize  the  possibility  of 
finding  himself  at  some  time  in  that  position.  In  so  far  as  this  is  true, 
an  ethic  of  ultimate  ends  and  an  ethic  of  responsibility  are  not  absolute 
contrasts  but  rather  supplements,  which  only  in  unison  constitute  a 
genuine  man — a  man  who  can  have  the  'calling  for  politics.' 

Now  then,  ladies  and  gentlemen,  let  us  debate  this  matter  once 
more  ten  years  from  now.  Unfortunately,  for  a  whole  series  of  reasons, 
I  fear  that  by  then  the  period  of  reaction  will  have  long  since  broken 
over  us.  It  is  very  probable  that  little  of  what  many  of  you,  and  (I 
candidly  confess)  I  too,  have  wished  and  hoped  for  will  be  fulfilled; 
little — perhaps  not  exactly  nothing,  but  what  to  us  at  least  seems  little. 
This  will  not  crush  me,  but  surely  it  is  an  inner  burden  to  realize  it. 
Then,  I  wish  I  could  see  what  has  become  of  those  of  you  who  now  feel 
yourselves  to  be  genuinely  'principled'  politicians  and  who  share  in  the 


intoxication  signified  by  tiiis  revolution.  It  would  be  nice  if  matters 
turned  out  in  such  a  way  that  Shakespeare's  Sonnet  102  should  hold 

Our  love  was  new,  and  then  but  in  the  spring, 

When  I  was  wont  to  greet  it  with  my  lays; 

As  Philomel  in  summer's  front  doth  sing, 

And  stops  her  pipe  in  growth  of  riper  days. 

But  such  is  not  the  case.  Not  summer's  bloom  lies  ahead  of  us,  but 
rather  a  polar  night  of  icy  darkness  and  hardness,  no  matter  which 
group  may  triumph  externally  now.  Where  there  is  nothing,  not  only  the 
Kaiser  but  also  the  proletarian  has  lost  his  rights.  When  this  night  shall 
have  slowly  receded,  who  of  those  for  whom  spring  apparently  has 
bloomed  so  luxuriously  will  be  alive?  And  what  will  have  become  of 
all  of  you  by  then?  Will  you  be  bitter  or  banausic?  Will  you  simply  and 
dully  accept  world  and  occupation?  Or  will  the  third  and  by  no  means 
the  least  frequent  possibility  be  your  lot:  mystic  flight  from  reality  for 
those  who  are  gifted  for  it,  or — as  is  both  frequent  and  unpleasant — for 
those  who  belabor  themselves  to  follow  this  fashion?  In  every  one  of 
such  cases,  I  shall  draw  the  conclusion  that  they  have  not  measured  up  to 
their  own  doings.  They  have  not  measured  up  to  the  world  as  it  really 
is  in  its  everyday  routine.  Objectively  and  actually,  they  have  not  ex- 
perienced the  vocation  for  politics  in  its  deepest  meaning,  which  they 
thought  they  had.  They  would  have  done  better  in  simply  cultivating 
plain  brotherliness  in  personal  relations.  And  for  the  rest — they  should 
have  gone  soberly  about  their  daily  work. 

Politics  is  a  strong  and  slow  boring  of  hard  boards.  It  takes  both  pas- 
sion and  perspective.  Certainly  all  historical  experience  confirms  the  truth 
— that  man  would  not  have  attained  the  possible  unless  time  and  again 
he  had  reached  out  for  the  impossible.  But  to  do  that  a  man  must  be  a 
leader,  and  not  only  a  leader  but  a  hero  as  well,  in  a  very  sober  sense 
of  the  word.  And  even  those  who  are  neither  leaders  nor  heroes  must 
arm  themselves  with  that  steadfastness  of  heart  which  can  brave  even 
the  crumbling  of  all  hopes.  This  is  necessary  right  now,  or  else  men 
will  not  be  able  to  attain  even  that  which  is  possible  today.  Only  he  has 

I  the  calling  for  politics  who  is  sure  that  he  shall  not  crumble  when  the 
world  from  his  point  of  view  is  too  stupid  or  too  base  for  what  he  wants 
to  offer.  Only  he  who  in  the  face  of  all  this  can  say  'In  spite  of  all!'  has 
the  calling  for  politics. 

V .  ocience  as  a    V  ocation 

You  wish  me  to  speak  about  'Science  as  a  Vocation.'  Now,  we  political 
economists  have  a  pedantic  custom,  which  I  should  like  to  follow,  of 
always  beginning  with  the  external  conditions.  In  this  case,  we  begin 
with  the  question:  What  are  the  conditions  of  science  as  a  vocation  in 
the  material  sense  of  the  term?  Today  this  question  means,  practically 
and  essentially:  What  are  the  prospects  of  a  graduate  student  who  is 
resolved  to  dedicate  himself  professionally  to  science  in  university  life.? 
In  order  to  understand  the  peculiarity  of  German  conditions  it  is  ex- 
pedient to  proceed  by  comparison  and  to  realize  the  conditions  abroad. 
In  this  respect,  the  United  States  stands  in  the  sharpest  contrast  with 
Germany,  so  we  shall  focus  upon  that  country. 

Everybody  knows  that  in  Germany  the  career  of  the  young  man  who 
is  dedicated  to  science  normally  begins  with  the  position  of  Privatdozent. 
After  having  conversed  with  and  received  the  consent  of  the  re- 
spective specialists,  he  takes  up  residence  on  the  basis  of  a  book  and, 
usually,  a  rather  formal  examination  before  the  faculty  of  the  university. 
Then  he  gives  a  course  of  lectures  without  receiving  any  salary  other 
than  the  lecture  fees  of  his  students.  It  is  up  to  him  to  determine,  within 
his  venia  legendi,  the  topics  upon  which  he  lectures. 

In  the  United  States  the  academic  career  usually  begins  in  quite  a 
different  manner,  namely,  by  employment  as  an  'assistant.'  This  is 
similar  to  the  great  institutes  of  the  natural  science  and  medical  faculties 
in  Germany,  where  usually  only  a  fraction  of  the  assistants  try  to  habili- 
tate themselves  as  Privatdozenten  and  often  only  later  in  their  career. 

Practically,  this  contrast  means  that  the  career  of  the  academic  man  in 
Germany  is  generally  based  upon  plutocratic  prerequisites.  For  it  is  ex- 
tremely hazardous  for  a  young  scholar  without  funds  to  expose  himself 

'Wissenschaft  als  Beruf,'  Gesammelte  Aufsaetze  zitr  Wissenschaftslelire  (Tubingen,  1922), 
pp.  524-55.  Originally  a  speech  at  Munich  University,  1918,  published  in  1919  by  Duncker 
&  Humblodt,  Munich. 



to  the  conditions  of  the  academic  career.  He  must  be  able  to  endure  this 
condition  for  at  least  a  number  of  years  without  knowing  whether  he 
will  have  the  opportunity  to  move  into  a  position  which  pays  well 
enough  for  maintenance. 

In  the  United  States,  where  the  bureaucratic  system  exists,  the  young 
academic  man  is  paid  from  the  very  beginning.  To  be  sure,  his  salary 
is  modest;  usually  it  is  hardly  as  much  as  the  wages  of  a  semi-skilled 
laborer.  Yet  he  begins  with  a  seemingly  secure  position,  for  he  draws 
a  fixed  salary.  As  a  rule,  however,  notice  may  be  given  to  him  just  as 
with  German  assistants,  and  frequently  he  definitely  has  to  face  this 
should  he  not  come  up  to  expectations. 

These  expectations  are  such  that  the  young  academic  in  America  must 
draw  large  crowds  of  students.  This  cannot  happen  to  a  German  decent; 
once  one  has  him,  one  cannot  get  rid  of  him.  To  be  sure,  he  cannot  raise 
any  'claims.'  But  he  has  the  understandable  notion  that  after  years  of 
work  he  has  a  sort  of  moral  right  to  expect  some  consideration.  He  also 
expects — and  this  is  often  quite  important — that  one  have  some  regard 
for  him  when  the  question  of  the  possible  habilitation  of  other  Privat- 
dozenten  comes  up. 

Whether,  in  principle,  one  should  habilitate  every  scholar  who  is  quali- 
fied or  whether  one  should  consider  enrollments,  and  hence  give  the 
existing  staff  a  monopoly  to  teach — that  is  an  awkward  dilemma.  It  is  asso- 
ciated with  the  dual  aspect  of  the  academic  profession,  which  we  shall 
discuss  presently.  In  general,  one  decides  in  favor  of  the  second  alter- 
native. But  this  increases  the  danger  that  the  respective  full  professor, 
however  conscientious  he  is,  will  prefer  his  own  disciples.  If  I  may 
speak  of  my  personal  attitude,  I  must  say  I  have  followed  the  principle 
that  a  scholar  promoted  by  me  must  legitimize  and  habilitate  himself 
with  somebody  else  at  another  university.  But  the  result  has  been  that 
one  of  my  best  disciples  has  been  turned  down  at  another  university 
because  nobody  there  believed  this  to  be  the  reason. 

A  further  difference  between  Germany  and  the  United  States  is  that 
in  Germany  the  Privatdozent  generally  teaches  fewer  courses  than  he 
wishes.  According  to  his  formal  right,  he  can  give  any  course  in  his 
field.  But  to  do  so  would  be  considered  an  improper  lack  of  considera- 
tion for  the  older  docents.  As  a  rule,  the  full  professor  gives  the  'big' 
courses  and  the  docent  confines  himself  to  secondary  ones.  The  ad- 
vantage of  these  arrangements  is  that  during  his  youth  the  academic 


man  is  free  to  do  scientific  work,  although  this  restriction  of  the  oppor- 
tunity to  teach  is  somewhat  involuntary. 

In  America,  the  arrangement  is  different  in  principle.  Precisely  during 
the  early  years  of  his  career  the  assistant  is  absolutely  overburdened  just 
because  he  is  paid.  In  a  department  of  German,  for  instance,  the  full 
professor  will  give  a  three-hour  course  on  Goethe  and  that  is  enough, 
whereas  the  young  assistant  is  happy  if,  besides  the  drill  in  the  German 
language,  his  twelve  weekly  teaching  hours  include  assignments  of,  say, 
Uhland.  The  officials  prescribe  the  curriculum,  and  in  this  the  assistant 
is  just  as  dependent  as  the  institute  assistant  in  Germany. 

Of  late  we  can  observe  distinctly  that  the  German  universities  in  the 
broad  fields  of  science  develop  in  the  direction  of  the  American  system. 
The  large  institutes  of  medicine  or  natural  science  are  'state  capitalist' 
)nsesPwhich  cannot  be  managed  without  very  considerabje  funds. 
Here  we  encounter  the  sarrie  conHition  that  is  found  wherever  capitalist 
enterprise  comes  into  operation:  the  'separation  of  the  worker  from  his 
means  of  production.'  'ihe  worker,  that  is,  the  assistant,  is  dependent 
upon  the  implements  that  the  state  puts'at  Iiis  disposal;  hence  he  is  just 
as  dependent  upon  the  head  of  the  institute  as  is  the  employee  in  a 
factory  upon  the  management.  For,  subjectively  and  in  good  faith,  the 
director  believes  that  this  institute  is  'his,'  and  he  manages  its  affairs. 
Thus  the  assistant's  position  is  often  as  precarious  as  is  that  of  any 
'quasi-proletarian'  existence  and  just  as  precarious  as  the  position  of  the 
assistant  in  the  American  university. 

In  very  important  respects  German  university  life  is  being  American- 
ized, as  is  German  life  in  general.  This  development,  I  am  convinced, 
will  engulf  those  disciplines  in  which  the  craftsman  personally  owns  the 
tools,  essentially  the  library,  as  is  still  the  case  to  a  large  extent  in  my 
own  field.  This  development  corresponds  entirely  to  what  happened  to 
the  artisan  of  the  past  and  it  is  now  fully  under  way. 

As  with  all  capitalist  and  at  the  same  time  bureaucratized  enterprises, 
there  are  indubitable  advantages  in  all  this.  But  the  'spirit'  that  rules  in 
these  affairs  is  different  from  the  historical  atmosphere  of  the  German 
university.  An  extraordinarily  wide  gulf,  externally  and  internally,  exists 
between  the  chief  of  these  large,  capitalist,  university  enterprises  and 
the  usual  full  j)rofessor  of  the  old  style.  This  contrast  also  holds  for  the 
inner  attitude,  a  matter  that  I  shall  not  go  into  here.  Inwardly  as  well 
as  externally,  the  old  university  constitution  has  become  fictitious.  What 
has  remained  and  what  has  been  essentially  increased  is  a  factor  peculiar 


to  the  university  career:  the  question  whether  or  not  such  a  Privatdozent, 
and  still  more  an  assistant,  will  ever  succeed  in  moving  into  the  position 
of  a  full  professor  or  even  become  the  head  of  an  institute.  That  is 
simply  a  hazard.  Certainly,  chance  does  not  rule  alone,  but  it  rules  to  an 
unusually  high  degree.  I  know  of  hardly  any  career  on  earth  where 
chance  plays  such  a  role.  I  may  say  so  all  the  more  since  I  personally 
owe  it  to  some  mere  accidents  that  during  my  very  early  years  I  was  ap- 
pointed to  a  full  professorship  in  a  discipline  in  which  men  of  my  genera- 
tion undoubtedly  had  achieved  more  tha^  I  had.  And,  indeed,  I  fancy, 
on  the  basis  of  this  experience,  that  I  have  a  sharp  eye  for  the  undeserved 
fate  of  the  many  whom  accident  has  cast  in  the  opposite  direction  and 
who  within  this  selective  apparatus  in  spite  of  all  their  ability  do  not 
attain  the  positions  that  are  due  them. 

The  fact  that  hazard  rather  than  ability  plays  so  large  a  role  is  not 
alone  or  even  predominantly  owing  to  the  'human,  all  too  human' 
factors,  which  naturally  occur  in  the  process  of  academic  selection  as  in 
any  other  selection.  It  would  be  unfair  to  hold  the  personal  inferiority  of 
faculty  members  or  educational  ministries  responsible  for  the  fact  that 
so  many  mediocrities  undoubtedly  play  an  eminent  role  at  the  universities. 
The  predominance  of  mediocrity  is  rather  due  to  the  laws  of  human 
co-operation,  especially  of  the  co-operation  of  several  bodies,  and,  in  this 
case,  co-operation  of  the  faculties  who  recommend  and  of  the  ministries 
of  education. 

A  counterpart  are  the  events  at  the  papal  elections,  which  can  be 
traced  over  many  centuries  and  which  are  the  most  important  control- 
lable examples  of  a  selection  of  the  same  nature  as  the  academic  selection. 
The  cardinal  who  is  said  to  be  the  'favorite'  only  rarely  has  a  chance  to 
win  out.  The  rule  is  rather  that  the  Number  Two  cardinal  or  the 
Number  Three  wins  out.  The  same  holds  for  the  President  of  the 
United  States.  Only  exceptionally  does  the  first-rate  and  most  prominent 
man  get  the  nomination  of  the  convention.  Mostly  the  Number  Two  and 
often  the  Number  Three  men  are  nominated  and  later  run  for  elecdon. 
The  Americans  have  already  formed  technical  sociological  terms  for 
these  categories,  and  it  would  be  quite  interesting  to  enquire  into  the 
laws  of  selection  by  a  collective  will  by  studying  these  examples,  but  we 
shall  not  do  so  here.  Yet  these  laws  also  hold  for  the  collegiate  bodies 
of  German  universities,  and  one  must  not  be  surprised  at  the  frequent 
mistakes  that  are  made,  but  rather  at  the  number  of  correct  appoint- 
ments, the  proportion  of  which,  in  spite  of  all,  is  very  considerable.  Only 


where  parliaments,  as  in  some  countries,  or  monarchs,  as  in  Germany 
thus  far  (both  work  out  in  the  same  way),  or  revolutionary  power-hold- 
ers, as  in  Germany  now,  intervene  for  political  reasons  in  academic  selec- 
tions, can  one  be  certain  that  convenient  mediocrities  or  strainers  will 
have  the  opportunities  all  to  themselves. 

No  university  teacher  likes  to  be  reminded  of  discussions  of  appoint- 
ments, for  they  are  seldom  agreeable.  And  yet  I  may  say  that  in  the 
numerous  cases  known  to  me  there  was,  without  exception,  the  good 
will  to  allow  purely  objective  reasons  to  be  decisive. 

One  must  be  clear  about  another  thing:  that  the  decision  over  academic 
fates  is  so  largely  a  'hazard'  is  not  merely  because  of  the  insufficiency 
of  the  selection  by  the  collective  formation  of  will.  Every  young  man 
who  feels  called  to  scholarship  has  to  realize  clearly  that  the  task  before 
him  has  a  double  aspect.  He  must  qualify  not  only  as  a  scholar  but 
also  as  a  teacher.  And  the  two  do  not  at  all  coincide.  One  can  be  a  pre- 
eminent scholar  and  at  the  same  time  an  abominably  poor  teacher.  May 
I  remind  you  of  the  teaching  of  men  like  Helmholtz  or  Ranke;  and 
they  are  not  by  any  chance  rare  exceptions. 

Now,  matters  are  such  that  German  universities,  especially  the  small 
universities,  are  engaged  in  a  most  ridiculous  competition  for  enroll- 
ments. The  landlords  of  rooming  houses  in  university  cities  celebrate 
the  advent  of  the  thousandth  student  by  a  festival,  and  they  would  love 
to  celebrate  Number  Two  Thousand  by  a  torchhght  procession.  The 
interest  in  fees^and  one  should  openly  admit  it — is  affected  by  appoint- 
ments in  the  neighboring  fields  that  'draw  crowds.'  And  quite  apart 
from  this,  the  number  of  students  enrolled  is  a  test  of  qualification,  which 
may  be  grasped  in  terms  of  numbers,  whereas  the  qualification  for 
scholarship  is  imponderable  and,  precisely  with  audacious  innovators, 
often  debatable — that  is  only  natural.  Almost  everybody  thus  is  affected 
by  the  suggestion  of  the  immeasurable  blessing  and  value  of  large  en-  , 
rollments.  To  say  of  a  docent  that  he  is  a  poor  teacher  is  usually  to 
pronounce  an  academic  sentence  of  death,  even  if  he  is  the  foremost 
scholar  in  the  world.  And  the  question  whether  he  is  a  good  or  a  poor 
teacher  is  answered  by  the  enrollments  with  which  the  students  conde-  •■- 
scendingly  honor  him.  V 

It  is  a  fact  that  whether  or  not  the  students  flock  to  a  teacher  is  de- 
termined in  large  measure,  larger  than  one  would  believe  possible,  by 
purely  external  things:  temperament  and  even  the  inflection  of  his 
voice.  After  rather  extensive  experience  and  sober  reflection,  I  have  a 


deep  distrust  of  courses  that  draw  crowds,  however  unavoidable  they 
may  be.  Democracy  should  be  used  only  where  it  is  in  place.  Scientific 
training,  as  we  are  held  to  practice  it  in  accordance  with  the  tradition  of 
German  universities,  is  the  affair  of  an  intellectual  aristocracy,  and  we 
should  not  hide  this  from  ourselves.  To  be  sure,  it  is  true  that  to  present 
scientific  problems  in  such  a  manner  that  an  untutored  but  receptive 
mind  can  understand  them  and — what  for  us  is  alone  decisive — can  come 
to  think  about  them  independently  is  perhaps  the  most  difficult  peda- 
gogical task  of  all.  But  whether  this  task  is  or  is  not  realized  is  not  de- 
cided by  enrollment  figures.  And — to  return  to  our  theme — this  very  art 
is  a  personal  gift  and  by  no  means  coincides  with  the  scientific  qualifica- 
tions of  the  scholar. 

In  contrast  to  France,  Germany  has  no  corporate  body  of  'immortals' 
in  science.  According  to  German  tradition,  the  universities  shall  do  justice 
to  the  demands  both  of  research  and  of  instruction.  Whether  the  abilities 
for  both  are  found  together  in  a  man  is  a  matter  of  absolute  chance. 
Hence  academic  life  is  a  mad  hazard.  If  the  young  scholar  asks  for  my 
advice  with  regard  to  habihtation,  the  responsibiHty  of  encouraging  him 
can  hardly  be  borne.  If  he  is  a  Jew,  of  course  one  says  lasciate  ogni 
speranza.  But  o'le  must  ask  every  other  man:  Do  you  in  all  conscience 
believe  that  ^ou  can  stand  seeing  mediocrity  after  mediocrity,  year  after 
year,  climb  beyond  you,  without  becoming  embittered  and  without  com- 
ing to  grief?  Naturally,  one  always  receives  the  answer:  'Of  course,  I  live 
only  for  my  "calling." '  Yet,  I  have  found  that  only  a  few  men  could 
endure  this  situation  without  coming  to  grief. 

This  much  I  deem  necessary  to  say  about  the  external  conditions  of  the 
academic  man's  vocation.  But  I  believe  that  actually  you  wish  to~hear  \^,~^ 
of  something  else,  namely,  of  the  inward  calling  for  science.  In  our^tim^ 
the  internal  situation,  in  contrast  to  the  organization  of_sciejiC£_as_a 
vocation,  is  first  of  all  conditioned  by  the  facts  that  science  has  entered 
a  phase  of  specialization  previously  unknown  and  that  this  wfH-fDrever 
remain  the  case.  Not  only  externally,  but  inwardly,  matters  stand  at  a 
point  where  the  individual  can  acquire  the  sure  consciousness  of  achiev- 
ing something  truly  perfect  in  the  field  of  science  only  in  case  he  is  a 
strict  specialist. 

All  work  that  overlaps  neighboring  fields,  such  as  we  occasionally 
undertake  and  which  the  sociologists  must  necessarily  undertake  again 
and  again,  is  burdened  with  the  resigned  realization  that  at  best  one 
provides  the  specialist  with  useful  questions  upon  which  he  would  not 


SO  easily  hit  from  his  own  speciaHzed  point  of  view.  One's  own  work 
must  inevitably  remain  highly  imperfect.  Only  by  strict  specialization 
can  the  scientific  worker  become  fully  conscious,  for  once  and  perhaps 
never  again  in  his  lifetime,  that  he  has  achieved  something  that  will  en- 
dure. A  really  definitive  and  good  accomplishment  is  today  always  a. 
specialized  accomplishment.  And  whoever  lacks  the  capacity  to  put  on 
blinders,  so  to  speak,  and  to  come  up  to  the  idea  that  the  fate  of  his) 
"soul  depends  upon  whether  or  not  he  makes  the  correct  conjecture"'at 
this  passage  of  this  manuscript  may  as  well  stay  away  from  science.  He 
will  never  have  what  one  may  call  the  'personal  experience'  of  science. 
Without  this  strange  intoxicatio)i,  ridiculed  by  every  outsider;  without 
this  passion,  this  'thousands  of  years  must  pass  before  you  enter  into  life 
and  thousands  more  wait  in  silence' — according  to  whether  or  not  you 
succeed  in  making  this  conjecture;  without  this,  you  have  no  calling  for 
science  and  you  should  do  something  else.  For  nothing  is  worthy  of  man 
as  man  unless  he  can  pursue  it  with  passionate  devotion. 

Yet  it  is  a  fact  that  no  amount  of  such  enthusiasm,  however  sincere 
and  profound  it  may  be,  can  compel  a  problem  to  yield  scientific  results. 
Certainly  enthusiasm  is  a  prerequisite  of  the  'inspiration'  which  is  de- 
cisive. Nowadays  in  circles  of  youth  there  is  a  widespread  notion  that 
science  has  become  a  problem  in  calculation,  fabricated  in  laboratories  or 
statistical  filing  systems  just  as  'in  a  factory,'  a  calculation  involving 
only  the  cool  ilntellect  and  not  one's  'heart  and  soul.'  First  of  all  one  must 
say  that  such  comments  lack  all  clarity  about  what  goes  on  in  a  factory 
or  in  a  laboratory.  In  both  some  idea  has  to  occur  to  someone's  mind, 
and  it  has  to  be  a  correct  idea,  if  one  is  to  accomplish  anything  worth- 
while. An3  such  Intuition  cannot  be  forced.  It  has  nothing  to  do  with 
any  cold  calculation.  Certainly  calculation  is  also  an  indispensable  prereq- 
uisite. No  sociologist,  for  instance,  should  think  himself  too  good,  even 
in  his  old  age,  to  make  tens  of  thousands  of  quite  trivial  computations 
in  his  head  and  perhaps  for  months  at  a  time.  One  cannot  with  impunity 
try  to  transfer  this  task  entirely  to  mechanical  assistants  if  one  wishes 
to  figure  something,  even  though  the  final  result  is  often  small  indeed. 
But  if  no  'idea'  Occurs  to  his  mind  about  the  direction  of  his  computations 
and,  during  his  computations,  about  the  bearing  of  the  emergent  single 
results,  then  even  this  small  result  will  not  be  yielded. 

Normally  such  an  'idea'  is  prepared  only  on  the  soil  of  very  hard 
work,  but  certainly  this  is  not  always  the  case.  Scientifically,  a  dilet- 
tante's  idea  may  have  the  very  same  or  even   a  greater  bearing  for 


science  than  that  o£  a  specialist.  Many  of  our  very  best  hypotheses  and 
insights  are  due  precisely  to  dilettantes.  The  dilettante  differs  from  the 
expert,  as  Helmholtz  has  said  of  Robert  Mayer,  only  in  that  he  lacks  a 
firm  and  reliable  work  procedure.  Consequently  he  is  usually  not  in  the 
position  to  control,  to  estimate,  or  to  exploit  the  idea  in  its  bearings.  The 
idea  is  not  a  substitute  for  work;  and  work,  in  turn,  cannot  substitute 
for  or  compel  an  idea,  just  as  little  as  enthusiasm  can.  Both,  enthusiasm 
and  work,  and  above  all  both  of  them  jointly,  can  entice  the  idea. 

Ideas  occur  to  us  when  they  please,  not  when  it  pleases  us.  The  best 
ideas  do  indeed  occur  to  one's  mind  in  the  way  in  which  Ihering  de- 
scribes it:  when  smoking  a  cigar  on  the  sofa;  or  as  Helmholtz  states  of 
himself  with  scientific  exactitude:  when  taking  a  walk  on  a  slowly 
ascending  street;  or  in  a  similar  way.  In  any  case,  ideas  come  when  we 
do  not  expect  them,  and  not  when  we  are  brooding  and  searching  at  our 
desks.  Yet  ideas  would  certainly  not  come  to  mind  had  we  not  brooded  at 
our  desks  and  searched  for  answers  with  passionate  devotion. 

However  this  may  be,  the  scientjfic^  worker  has_to_jtake  into  Jiis 
bargain  the  risk  that  enters  into  all  scientific  _work :  Does  an  'idea' 
occur  or  does  it  not  ?  He  may  be  an  excellent  worker  and  yet  never  have 
had  any  valuable  idea  of  his  own.  It  is  a  grave  error  to  believe  that  this 
is  so  only  in  science,  and  that  things  for  instance  in  a  business  office  are 
different  from  a  laboratory.  A  merchant  or  a  big  industrialist  without 
'business  imagination/  that  is,  without  ideas  or  ideal  intuitions,  will  for 
all  his  life  remain  a  man  who  would  better  have  remained  a  clerk  or  a 
technical  official.  He  will  never  be  truly  creative  in  organization.  Inspira- 
tion in  the  field  of  science  by  no  means  plays  any  greater  role,  as  academic 
conceit  fancies,  than  it  does  in  the  field  of  mastering  problems  of  practi- 
cal life  by  a  modern  entrepreneur.  On  the  other  hand,  and  this  also 
is  often  misconstrued,  inspiration  playj  no  less  a  role  in  science  than  it 
does  in  the  realm  of  art.  It  is  a  childish  notion  to  think  that  a  mathe- 
matician  attains  any  scientifically  valuable  results  by  sitting  at  his  desk 
with  a  ruler,  calculating  machines  or  other  mechanical  means.  The 
mathematkal  imagination  of  a  Weierstrass  is  naturally  quite  differently 
oriented  in  meaning  and  result  than  is  the  imagination  of  an  artist,  and 
differs  basically  in  quality.  But  the  psychological  processes  do  not  differ. 
Both  are  frenzy  (in  the  sense  of  Plato's  'mania')  and  'inspiration.' 

Now,  whether  we  have  scientific  inspiration  depends  upon  destinies 
that  are  hidden  from  us,  and  besides  upon  'gifts.'  Last  but  not  least, 
because  of  this  indubitable  truth,  a  very  understandable  attitude  has 


become  popular,  especially  among  youth,  and  has  put  them  in  the  serv- 
ice of  idols  whose  cult  today  occupies  a  broad  place  on  all  street  corners 
and  in  all  periodicals.  Tliese^dols^rejpersonality^ 
rience.'  Both  are  intimately  connected,  the  notion  prevails  that  the 
latter  constitutes  the  former  and  belongs  to  it.  People  belabor  themselves 
in  trying  to  'experience'  life — for  that  befits  a  personality,  conscious  of 
its  rank  and  station.  And  if  we  do  not  succeed  in  'experiencing'  life,  we 
must  at  least  pretend  to  have  this  gift  of  grace.  Formerly  we  called  this 
'experience,'  in  plain  German,  'sensation';  and  I  believe  that  we  then 
had  a  more  adequate  idea  of  what  personality  is  and  what  it  signifies. 

Ladies  and  gentlemen.  In  the  field  of  science  only  he  who  is  devoted 
solely  to  the  work  at_hand  has  'personality.'  And  this  holds  not  only 
for  the  field  of  science;  we  know  of  no  great  artist  who  has  ever  done 
anything  but  serve  his  work  and  only  his  work.  As  far  as  his  art  is 
concerned,  even  with  a  personality  of  Goethe's  rank,  it  has  been  detri- 
mental to  take  the  liberty  of  trying  to  make  his  'life'  into  a  work  of  art. 
And  even  if  one  doubts  this,  one  has  to  be  a  Goethe  in  order  to  dare 
permit  oneself  such  liberty.  Everybody  will  admit  at  least  this  much: 
that  even  with  a  man  like  Goethe,  who  appears  once  in  a  thousand  years, 
this  liberty  did  not  go  unpaid  for.  In  politics  matters  are  not  different, 
but  we  shall  not  discuss  that  today.  In  the  field  of  science,  however,  the 
man  who  makes  himself  the  impresario  of  the  subject  to  which  he 
should  be  devoted,  and  steps  upon  the  stage  and  seeks  to  legitimate  him- 
self through  'experience,'  asking:  How  can  I  prove  that  I  am  something  . 
other  than  a  mere  'specialist'  and  how  can  I  manage  to  say  something  o/' 
in  form  or  in  content  that  nobody  else  has  ever  said? — such  a  man  is  no 
'personality.'  Today  such  conduct  is  a  crowd  phenomenon,  and  it  al- 
ways makes  a  petty  impression  and  debases  the  one  who  is  thus  con- 
cerned. Instead  of  this,  an  inner  devotion  to  the  task,  and  that  alone, 
should  lift  the  scientist  to  the  height  and  dignity  of  the  subject  he  pre- 
tends to  serve.  And  in_  this  it  is  not  different  with  the  artist.  . 

In  contrast  with  these  preconditions  which  scientific  work  shares  with  '■~-^  ■ 
art,  science  has  a  fate  that  profoundly  distinguishes"  it  from  artistic  work. 
Scientific  work  is  chained  to  the  course  ot  progress;  whereas  in  the  realm 
of  art  there  is  no  progress  in  the  same  sense.  It  is  not  true  that  the 
work  of  art  of  a  period  that  has  worked  out  new  technical  means,  or, 
for  instance,  the  laws  of  perspective,  stands  therefore  artistically  higher 
than  a  work  of  art  devoid  of  all  knowledge  of  those  means  and  laws — 
if  its  form  does  justice  to  the  material,  that  is,  if  its  object  has  been 


chosen  and  formed  so  that  it  could  be  artistically  mastered  without 
applying  those  conditions  and  means.  A  work  of  art  which  is  genuine 
'fulfilment'  is  never  surpassed;  it  will  never  be  antiquated.  Individuals 
may  differ  in  appreciating  the  personal  significance  of  works  of  art,  but 
no  one  will  ever  be  able  to  say  of  such  a  work  that  it  is  'outstripped  by 
another  work  which  is  also  'fulfilment.' 

In  science,  each  of  us  knows  that  vvhat  he  has  accomplished^will  be 
antiquated  in  ten,  twenty,  fifty  years.  That  is  the  fate  to  which  science 
is  subjected;  it  is  the  very  jneaning  of  scientific  work,  to  which  it  is  de- 
voted in  a  quite  specific  sense,  as  compared  with  other  spheres  of  cul- 
ture for  which  in  general  the  same  holds.  Every  scientific  'fulfilment' 
raises  new  'questions';  it  as{s  to  be  'surpassed'  and^outdated  Whoever 
wishes  to  serve  science  has  to  resign  himself  to  this  fact.  Scientific  works 
certainly  can  last  as  'gratifications'  because  of  their  artistic  quality,  or  they 
may  remain  important  as  a  means  of  training.  Yet  they  will  be  surpassed 
scientifically — let  that  be  repeated — for  it  is  our  common  fate  and,  more, 
our  common  goal.  We  cannot  work  without  hoping  that  others  will  ad- 
vance further  than  we  have.  In  principle,  this  progress  goes  on  ad 
infinitum.  And  with  this  we  come  to  inquire  into  the  meaning  of 
science.  For,  after  allTlt^Ts  noF  self-evident  that  something  subordinate 
to  such  a  law  is  sensible  and  meaningful  in  itself.  Why  does  one  engage 
in  doing  something  that  in  reality  never  comes,  and  never  can  come, 
to  an  end? 
\lp  One  does  it,  first,  for  purely  practical,  in  the  broader  sense  of  the 
word,  for  technical,  purposes:  in  order  to  be  able  to  orient  our  practical 
activities  to  the  expectations  that  scientific  experience  places  at  our  dis- 
posal. Good.  Yet  this  has  meaning  only  to  practitioners.  Whatjsjhe^atti- 
tude  of  the  academic  man  towaj;ds  his  vocation — that  is,  if  he  is  at  all  in 
quest  of  such  a  personal  attitude?  He  maintains  that  he  engages  in 
'science  for  science's  sake'  and  not  merely  because  others,  by  exploiting 
science,  bring  about  commercial  or  technical  success  and  can  better  feed, 
dress,  illuminate,  and  govern.  But  what  does  he  who  allows  himself  to  be 
integrated  into  this  specialized  organization,  running  on  ad  infinitum, 
hope  to  accomplish  that  is  significant  in  these  productions  that  are  al- 
ways destined  to  be  outdated?  This  question  requires  a  few  general 

Scientific  progress  is  a  fraction,  the  most  important  fraction,  of  the 
process  of  intel^tualization  which  we  haveT)een  undergoing  for  thou- 
sands of  years  and  which  nowadays  is  usually  judged  in  such  an  ex- 


tremely  negative  way.  Let  us  first  clarify  what  this  intellectuaUst  ration- 
ahzation,  created  by  science  and  by  scientifically  oriented  technology, 
means  practically. 

Does  it  mean  that  we,  today,  for  instance,  everyone  sitting  in  this  hall, 
have  a^reater  Jyigwle^ge  of  the  conditions  of  life  under  which  we  exist 
than  has  an  American  Indian  or  a  Hottentot?  Hardly.  Unless  he  is  a 
physicist,  one  who  rides  on  the  streetcar  has  no  idea  how  the  car  happened 
to  get  into  motion.  And  he  does  not  need  to  know.  He  is  satisfied  that  he 
may  'count'  on  the  behavior  of  the  streetcar,  and  he  orients  his  conduct 
according  to  this  expectation;  but  he  knows  nothing  about  what  it  takes 
to  produce  such  a  car  so  that  it  can  move.  The  savage  knows  incom- 
parably more  about  his  tools.  When  we  spend  money  today  I  Let  that 
even  if  there  are  colleagues  of  political  economy  here  in  the  hall,  almost 
every  one  of  them  will  hold  a  different  answer  in  readiness  to  the  ques- 
tion: How  does  it  happen  that  one  can  buy  something  for  money — some- 
times more  and  sometimes  less?  The  savage  knows  what  he  does  in  order 
to  get  his  daily  food  and  which  institutions  serve  him  in  this  pursuit. 
The  increasing^  intellectualization  and  rationalization  do  7iot,  therefore,  j. 
/^  indicate  an  increased  and  general  knowledge  of  the  conditions  under  'V^ 
which  one  lives. 

It  means  something  else,  namely,  the  knowledge  or  belief  that  if  one  | 
but  wished  one  could  learn  it  at  any  time.  Hence,  it  means  that  prin-  ' 
cipally  there  are  no  mysterious  incalculable  forces  that  come  into  play,   : 
but  rather  that  one  can,  in  principle,  master  all  things  by  calculation,    i 
This  means  that  the  world  is  disenchanted.  One  need  no  longer  have 
recourse  to  magical  means  in  order  to  master  or  implore  the  spirits,  as  did 
the  savage,  for  whom  such  mysterious  powers  existed.  Technical  means 
and  calculations  perform  the  service.  This  above  all  is  what  intellectuali-        L, 
zation  means.  

Now,  this  process  of  disenchantment,  which  has  continued  to  exist  in 
Occidental  culture  for  millennia,  and,  in  general,  this  'progress,'  to  which 
science  belongs  as  a  link  and  motive  force,  do  they  have  any  meanings 
that  go  beyond  the  purely  practical  and  technical?  You  will  find  this 
question  raised  in  the  most  principled  form  in  the  works  of  Leo  Tolstoi. 
He  came  to  raise  the  question  in  a  peculiar  way.  All  his  broodings  in- 
creasingly revolved  around  the  problem  of  whether  or  not  death  is  a 
meaningful  phenomenon.  And  his  answer  was:  for  civilized  man  death 
has  no  meaning.  It  has  none  because  the  individual  Hfe  of  civilized  man, 
placed  into  an  infinite  'progress,'  according  to  its  own  imminent  mean- 



ing  should  never  come  to  an  end;  for  there  is  always  a  further  step  ahead 
of  one  who  stands  in  the  march  of  progress.  And  no  man  who  comes 
to  die  stands  upon  the  peak  which  lies  in  infinity.  Abraham,  or  some 
peasant  of  the  past,  died  'old  and  satiated  with  life'  because  he  stood 
in  the  organic  cycle  of  life;  because  his  life,  in  terms  of  its  meaning  and 
on  the  eve  of  his  days,  had  given  to  him  what  life  had  to  offer;  because 
for  him  there  remained  no  puzzles  he  might  wish  to  solve;  and  there- 
fore he  could  have  had  'enough'  of  life.  Whereas  civilized  man,  placed 
in  the  midst  of  the  continuous  enrichment  of  culture  by  ideas,  knowl- 
edge, and  problems,  may  become  'tired  of  life'  but  not  'satiated  with  life.' 
He  catches  only  the  most  minute  part  of  what  the  life  of  the  spirit  brings 
forth  ever  anew,  and  what  he  seizes  is  always  something  provisional 
and  not  definitive,  and  therefore  death  for  him  is  a  meaningless  occur- 
rence. And  because  death  is  meaningless,  civilized  life  as  such  is  mean- 
ingless; by  its  very  'progressiveness'  it  gives  death  the  imprint  of  mean- 
inglessness.  Throughout  his  late  novels  one  meets  with  this  thought  as 
the  keynote  of  the  Tolstoyan  art. 

What  stand  should  one  take?  Has  'progress'  as  such  a  recognizable 
meaning  that  goes  beyond"  tEF technical,  so  that  tO-serve  it  is  a  meaning- 
ful  vocation?  The  question  must  be  raised.  But  this  is  no  longer  merely 
the  question  of  man's  calUng  for  science,  hence,  the  problem  of  what 
science  as  a  vocation  means  to  its  devoted  disciples.  To  raise  this  question 
is  to  ask  for  the  vocation  of  science  within  the  totaj  life  q£. humanity. 
What  is  the  value  of  science? 

Here  the  contrast  between  the  past  and  the  present  is  tremendous. 
You  will  recall  the  wonderful  image  at  the  beginning  of  the  seventh 
book  of  Plato's  Republic:  those  enchained  cavemen  whose  faces  are 
turned  toward  the  stone  wall  before  them.  Behind  them  lies  the  source 
of  the  light  which  they  cannot  see.  They  are  concerned  only  with  the 
shadowy  images  that  this  light  throws  upon  the  wall,  and  they  seek 
to  fathom  their  interrelations.  Finally  one  of  them  succeeds  in  shattering 
his  fetters,  turns  around,  and  sees  the  sun.  Blinded,  he  gropes  about  and 
stammers  of  what  he  saw.  The  others  say  he  is  raving.  But  gradually  he 
learns  to  behold  the  light,  and  then  his  task  is  to  descend  to  the  cavemen 
and  to  lead  them  to  the  light.  He  is  the  philosopher;  the  sun,  however, 
is  the  truth  of  science,  which  alone  seizes  not  upon  iHusions  and  shadows 
but  upon  the  true  being. 

Well,  who  today  views  science  in  such  a  manner?  Today  youth 
feels  rather  the  reverse:  the  intellectual  constructions  of  science  consti- 


tute  an  unreal  realm  of  artificial  abstractions,  which  with  their  bony 
hands  seek  to  grasp  the  blood-and-the-sap  of  true  life  without  ever  catch- 
ing up  with  it.  But  here  in  life,  in  what  for  Plato  was  the  play  of 
shadows  on  the  walls  of  the  cave,  genuine  reality  is  pulsating;  and  the 
rest  are  derivatives  of  life,  lifeless  ghosts,  and  nothing  else.  How  did  this 
change  come  about? 

Plato's  passionate  enthusiasm  in  The  Republic  must,  in  the  last  analy- 
sis, be  explained  by  the  fact  that  for  the  first  time  the  concept,  one  of  the 
great  tools  of  all  scientific  knowledge,  had  been  consciously  discovered. 
Socrates  had  discovered  it  in  its  bearing.  He  was  not  the  only  man 
in  the  world  to  discover  it.  In  India  one  finds  the  beginnings  of  a  logic 
that  is  quite  similar  to  that  of  Aristotle's.  But  nowhere  else  do  we  find 
this  realization  of  the  significanceof  the  concept.  In  Greece,  for  the  first 
time,  appeared  a  handy  means  by  which  one  could  put  the  logical 
screws  upon  somebody  so  that  he  could  not  come  out  without  admitting 
either  that  he  knew  nothing  or  that  this  and  nothing  else  was  truth,  the 
eternal  truth  that  never  would  vanish  as  the  doings  of  the  blind  men 
vanish.  That  was  the  tremendous  experience  which  dawned  upon  the 
disciples  of  Socrates.  And  from  this  it  seemed  to  follow  that  if  one  only 
found  the  right  concept  of  the  beautiful,  the  goo'd,  or,  foFlnstance,  of 
bravery,  of~tKe  soul — or  whatever — that  then  one  could  also  grasp  its 
true  being.  Andjhis,  jn  turn,  seenied_to  open  the  way  for  knowing  and 
for  teaching:  how_to  act  rightly  in  life  and,  above  all,  how  to  act  as  a 
citizen  of  the  state;  for  this  question  was  everything  to  the  Hellenic  man, 
whose  thinking  was  political  throughout.  And  for  these  reasons  one 
engaged  in  science. 

The  second  great  tool  of  scientific  work,  the  rational  experiment,  made 
its  appearance  at  the  side  of  this  discovery  of  the  Hellenic  spirit  during 
the  Renaissance  period.  The  experiment  is  a  means  of  reliably  controlling 
experience.  Without  it,  present-day  empirical  science  would  be  impos- 
sible. There  were  experiments  earlier;  for  instance,  in  India  physiological 
experiments  were  made  in  the  service  of  ascetic  yoga  technique;  in 
Hellenic  antiquity,  mathematical  experiments  were  made  for  purposes  of 
war  technology;  and  in  the  Middle  Ages,  for  purposes  of  mining.  But 
to  raise  the  experiment  to  a  principle  of  research  was  the  achievement 
o£_the_JE£iiaissance.  They  were  the  great  innovators  in  art,  who  were 
the  pioneers  of  experiment.  Leonardo  and  his  like  and,  above  all,  the 
sixteenth-century  experimenters  in  music  with  their  experimental  pianos 
were  characteristic.  From  these  circles  the  experiment  entered  science, 


especially  through  Galileo,  and  it  entered  theory  through  Bacon;  and 
then  it  was  taken  over  by  the  various  exact  disciplines  of  the  continental 
universities,  first  of  all  those  of  Italy  and  then  those  of  the  Netherlands. 

What  did  science  mean  to  these  men  who  stood  at  the  threshold 
of  modern  times?  To  artistic  experimenters  of  the  type  of  Leonardo 
and  the  musical  innovators,  science  meant  the  path  to^ue  art,  and 
that  meant  for  them  the  path  to  true  nature.  Art  was  to  be  raised  to  the 
rank  of  a  science,  and  this  meant  at  the  same  time  and  above  all  to  raise 
the  artist  to  the  rank  of  the  doctor,  socially  and  with  reference  to~tKe 
meaning  of  his  life.  This  is  the  ambition  on  which,  for  instance,  Leo- 
nardo's sketch  book  was  based.  And  today  ?  'Science  as  the  way  to  nature' 
would  sound  like  blasphemy  to  youth.  Today,  youth  proclaims  the  oppo- 
site: redemption  from  the  intellectualism  of  science  in  order  to  return 
to  one's  own  nature  and  therewith  to  nature  in  general.  Science  as  a  way 
to  art?  Here  no  criticism  is  even  needed. 

But  during  the  period  of  the  rise  of  the  exact  .sciences  one^ejcpected 
a  great  deal  more.  If  you  recall  Swammerdam's  statement,  'Here  I  bring 
you  the  proof  of  God's  providence  in  the  anatomy  of  a  louse,'  you  will 
see  what  the  scientific  worker,  influenced  (indirectly)  by^JProtestantism 
and  Puritanism,  conceived  to  be  his  task:  to  show  the  path  to^God. 
People  no  longer  found  this  path  among  the  philosophers,  with  their 
concepts  and  deductions.  All  pietist  theology  of  the  time,  above  all 
Spener,  knew  that  God  was  not  to  be  found  along  the  road  by  which  the 
Middle  Ages  had  sought  him.  God  is  hidden,  His  ways  are  not  our 
ways.  His  thoughts  are  not  our  thoughts.  In  the  exact  sciences,  however, 
where  one  could  physically  grasp  His  works,  one  hoped  to  come  upon 
the  traces  of  what  He  planned  for  the  world.  And  today?  Who-^aside 
from  certain  big  children  who  are  indeed  found  in  the  natural  sciences — 
still  believes  that  the  findings  of  astronomy,  biology,  physics,  or  chemis- 
try could  teach  us  anything  about  the  meaning  of  the  world?  If  there  is 
any  such  'meaning,'  along  what  road  could  one  come  upon  its  tracks? 
If  these  natural  sciences  lead  to  anything  in  this  way,  they  are  apt  to 
make  the  belief  that  there  is  such  a  thing  as  the  'meaning'  of  the  uni- 
verse die  out  at  its  very  roots. 

And  finally,  science  as  a  way  'to  God'?  Science,  this  specifically  irreli- 
gious power?  That  science  today  is  irreligious  no  one  will  doubt  in  his 
innermost  being,  even  if  he  will  not  admit  it  to  himself.  Redemption 
from  the  rationalism  and  intellectualism  of  science  is  the  fundamental 
presupposition  of  living  in  union  with  the  divine.  This,  or  something 


similar  in  meaning,  is  one  of  the  fundamental  watchwords  one  hears 
among  German  youth,  whose  feelings  are  attuned  to  religion  or  who 
crave  religious  experiences.  They  crave  not  only  religious  experience ' 
but  experience  as  such.  The  only  thing  that  is  strange  is  the  method 
that  is  now  followed:  the  spheres  of  the  irrational,  the  only  spheres  that 
intellectualism  has  not  yet  touched,  are  now  raised  into  consciousness 
and  put  under  its  lens.  For  in  practice  this  is  where  the  modern  intel- 
lectualist  form  of  romantic  irrationalism  leads.  This  method  of  emanci- 
pation from  intellectualism  may  well  bring  about  the  very  opposite  of 
what  those  who  take  to  it  conceive  as  its  goal. 

After  Nietzsche's  devastating  criticism  of  those  'last  men'  who  'in- 
vented happiness,'  I  may  leave  aside  altogether  the  naive  optimism  in 
which  science — that  isTlHF  technique  of  mastering  life  which  rests  upon 
science — has  been  celebrated  as  the  way  to  happiness.  Who  believes  in 
this? — aside  from  a  few  big  children  in  university  chairs  or  editorial 
offices.  Let  us  resume  our  argument. 

Under  these  internal  presuppositions,  what  is  th£  meamng  of  science 
as  a^yo^tion,  now  after  all  these  former  illusions,  the  'way  to  true  be- 
ing,' the  'way  to  true  art,'  the  'way  to  true  nature,'  the  'way  to  true  God,' 
the  'way  to  true  happiness,'  have  been  dispelled?  Tolstoi  has  given  the 
simplest  answer,  with  the  words:  'Science  is  meaningless  because  it  gives 
no  answer  to  our  question,  the  only  question  important  for  us:  "What 
shall  we  do  and  how  shall  we  live?"'  That  science  does  not  give  an 
answer  to  this  is  indisputable.  The  only  question  that  remains  is  the 
sense_in  which  science  gives  'no'  answer,  and  whether  or  not  science 
might  jet  be  of  some  use  to  the  one  who  puts  the  question  correctly. 

Today  one  usually  speaks  of  science  as  'free  from  presuppositions.' 
Is  there  such  a  thing?  It  depends  upon  what  one  understands  thereby. 
All  scientific  work  presupposes  that  the  rules  of  logic  and  method  are 
valid;  these  are  the  general  foundations  of  our  orientation  in  the  world; 
and,  at  least  for  our  special  question,  these  presuppositions  are  the  least 
problematic  aspect  of  science.  Science  further  presupposes  that  what 
is  yielded  by  scientific  work  is  important  in  the  sense  that  it~is  'worth 
being  known.'  In  this,  obviously,  are  contained  all  our  problems.  For 
this^presupposition  cannot  be  proved  by  scientific  means.  It  can  only 
be  interpreted  with  reference  to  its  ultimate  meaning,  which  we  must 
reject  or  accept~accordIng  to  our  ultirnate  position  towards  life.  ^ 

Furthermore,  the  nature  of  the  relationship  of  scientific  work  and  its 
presuppositions  varies  widely  according  to  their  structure.  The  natural 


sciences,  for  instance,  physics,  chemistry,  and  astronomy,  presuppose 
as  self-evident  that  it  is  worth  while  to  know  the  ultimate  laws  oT cosmic 
events  as  far  as  science  can  construe  them.  This  is  the  case  not  only 
because  with  such  knowledge  one  can  attain  technical  results  but  for 
its  own  sake,  if  the  quest  for  such  knowledge  is  to  be  a  'vocation.'  Yet 
this  presupposition  can  by  no  means  be  proved.  And  still  less  can  it  be 
provedHthat^the  existence  of  The  world  which  these  sciences  describe  is 
worth  while,  that  it  has  any  'meaning,'  or  that  it  makes  sense  to  Uve 
in  such  a  world.  Science  does  not  ask  for  the  answers  to  such  questions. 

Consider  modern  medicine,  a  practical  technology  which  is  highly  de- 
veloped scientifically.  The  general  'presupposition'  of  the  medical  enter- 
prise is  stated  trivially  in  the  assertion  that  medical  science  has  the  task  of 
maintaining  life  as  such  and  of  diminishing  suffering  as  such  to  the 
greatest  possible  degree.  Yet  this  is  problematical.  By  his  means  the  medP 
cal  man  preserves  the  life  of  the  mortally  ill  man,  even  if  the  patient 
implores  us  to  relieve  him  of  life,  even  if  his  relatives,  to  whom  his  life 
is  worthless  and  to  whom  the  costs  of  maintaining  his  worthless  life 
grow  unbearable,  grant  his  redemption  from  suffering.  Perhaps  a  poor 
lunatic  is  involved,  whose  relatives,  whether  they  admit  it  or  not,  wish 
and  must  wish  for  his  death.  Yet  the  presuppositions  of  medicine,  and 
the  penal  code,  prevent  the  physician  from  relinquishing  his  therapeutic 
efforts.  Whether  life  is  worth  while  living  and  when — this  guestjon  i£ 
not  asked  by  medicine.  Natural  science  gives  us  an  answer  to  the  ques- 
tion of  what  we  must  do  if  we  wish  to  master  life  technically.  It  leaves 
quite  aside,  or  assumes  for  its  purposes,  whether  we  should  and  do  wish 
to  master  life  technically  and  whether  it  ultimately  makes  sense  to  do  so. 

Consider  a  discipline  such  as  aesthetics.  The  fact  that  there  are  works 
of  art  is  given  for  aesthetics.  It  seeks  to  find  out  under  what  conditions 
this  fact  exists,  but  it  does  not  raise  the  question  whether  or  not  the 
realm  of  art  is  perhaps  a  realm  of  diabolical  grandeur,  a  realm  of  this 
world,  and  therefore,  in  its  core,  hostile  to  God  and,  in  its  innermost  and 
aristocratic  spirit,  hostile  to  the  brotherhood  of  man.  Hence3__aesthetks 
does  not  ask  whether  there  should  be  works  of  jrt. 

Consider  jiirisprudence.  It  establishes  what  is  valid  according  to  the 
rules  of  juristic  thought,  which  is  partly  bound  by  logically  compelling 
and  partly  by  conventionally  given  schemata.  Juridical  thought  holds 
when  certain  legal  rules  and  certain  methods  of  interpretations  are  recog- 
nized as  binding.  Whether  there  should  be  law  and  vyhether  one  should 
establish  just  these  rules — such  questions  jurisprudence  does  not  answer. 


It  can  only  state:  If  one  wishes  this  result,  according  to  the  norms  of  our 
legal  thought,  this  legal  rule  is  the  appropriate  means  of  attaining  it. 

Consider  the  jiistorical  and  cultural  sciences.  They  teach  us  how  to 
understand  and  interpret  polTdan^irrTTstrcTTiterary,  and  social  phenomena 
in  terms  of  their  origins.  But  they  give  us  no  answer  to  the  question, 
whether  the  existence  of  these  cultural  phenomena  have  been  and  are 
worth  while.  And  they  do  not  answer  the  further  question,  whether  it  is 
worth  the  effort  required  to  know  them.  They  presuppose  that  there  is 
an  interest  in  partaking,  through  this  procedure,  of  the  community  of 
'civilized  men.'  But  they  cannot  prove  'scientifically'  that  this  is  the  case; 
and  that  they  presuppose  this  interest  by  no  means  proves  that  it  goes 
without  saying.  In  fact  it  is  not  at  all  self-evident. 

Finally,  let  us  consider  the  disciplines  close  to  me:  sociology,  historyj^ 
economics,  political  science,  and  those  types  of  cultural  philosophy  that^ 
make  it  their  task  to  interpret  these  sciences.  It  is  said,  and  I  agree,  that 
politics  is  out  of  place  in  the  lecture-room.  It  does  not  belong  there 
on  the  part  of  the  students.  If,  for  instance,  in  the  lecture-room  of  my 
former  colleague  Dietrich  Schiifer  in  Berlin,  pacifist  students  were  to 
surround  his  desk  and  make  an  uproar,  I  should  deplore  it  just  as  much 
as  I  should  deplore  the  uproar  which  anti-pacifist  students  are  said  to 
have  made  against  Professor  Forster,  whose  views  in  many  ways  are 
as  remote  as  could  be  from  mine.  Neither  does  politics,  however,  belong 
in  the  lecture-room  on  the  part  of  the  docents,  and  when  the  docent  is 
scientifically  concerned  with  politics,  it  belongs  there  least  of  all. 

To  take  a  practical  political  stand  is  one  thing,  and  to  analyze  political 
structures  and  party  positions  is  another.  When  speaking  in  a  political 
meeting  about  democracy,  one  does  not  hide  one's  personal  standpoint; 
indeed,  to  come  out  clearly  and  take  a  stand  is  one's  damned  duty.  The 
words  one  uses  in  such  a  m^e^eting  are  not  means  of  scientific  analysis  but 
means  of  canvassing  votes  and  winning  over  others.  They  are  not  plow- 
shares to  loosen  the  soil  of  contemplative  thought;  they  are  swords 
against  the  enemies:  such  words  are  weapons.  It  would  be  an  outrage, 
however,  to  use  words  in  this  fashion  in  a  lecture  or  in  the  lecture-room. 
If,  for  instance,  'democracy'  is  under  discussion,  one  considers  its  various 
forms,  analyzes  them  in  the  way  they  function,  determines  what  results 
for  the  conditions  of  life  the  one  form  has  as  compared  with  the  other. 
Then  one  confronts  the  forms  of  democracy  with  non-democratic  forms 
of  political  order  and  endeavors  to  come  to  a  position  where  the  student 
may  find  the  point  from  which,  in  terms  of  his  ultimate  ideals,  he  can 


take  a  stand.  But  the  true  teacher  will  beware  of  imposing  from  the  plat- 
form any  political  position  upon  the  student,  whether  it  is  expressed 
or  suggested.  'To  let  the  facts  speak  for  themselves'  is  the  mostunfair 
way  of  putting  over  a  political  position  to  the  student. 

Why  should  we  abstain  from  doing  this?  I  state  in  advance  that  some 
highly  esteemed  colleagues  are  of  the  opinion  that  it  is  not  possible  to 
carry  through  this  self-restraint  and  that,  even  if  it  were  possible,  it 
would  be  a  whim  to  avoid  declaring  oneself.  Now  one  cannot  demon- 
strate scientifically  what  the  duty  of  an  academic  teacher  is.  One  can 
only  demand  of  the  teacher  that  he  have  the  intellectual  integrity  to  see ' 
that  it  is  one  thing  to  state  facts,  to  determine  mathematical  or  logical 
relations  or  the  internal  structure  of  cultural  values,  while  it  is  another 
thing  to  answer  questions  of  the  value  of  culture  and  its  individual  con- 
tents and  the  question  of  how  one  should  act  in  the  cultural  community 
and  in  political  associations.  These  are  quite  heterogeneous  problems.  If 
he  asks  further  why  he  should  not  deal  with  both  types  of  problems  in 
the  lecture-room,  the  answer  is:  because  the  prophet  and  the  demagogue 
do  not  belong  on  the  academic  platform. 

To  the  prophet  and  tlie  demagogue,  it  is  said:  'Go  your  ways  out  into 
the  streets  and  speak  openly  to  the  world,'  that  is,  speak  where  criticism 
is  possible.  In  the  lecture -room  we  stand  opposite  our  audience,  and  it 
has  to  remain  silent.  I  deem  it  irresponsible  to  exploit  the  circumstance 
that  for  the  sake  of  their  career  the  students  have  to  attend  a  teacher's 
course  while  there  is  nobody  present  to  oppose  him  with  criticism.  The 
task  of  the  teacher  is  to  serve  the  students  with  his  knowledge  and  scien- 
tific experience  and  not  to  imprint  upon  them  his  personal  political 
views.  It  is  certainly  possible  that  the  individual  teacher  will  not  entirely 
succeed  in  eliminating  his  personal  sympathies.  He  is  then  exposed  to  the 
sharpest  criticism  in  the  forum  of  his  own  conscience.  And  this  deficiency 
does  not  prove  anything;  other  errors  are  also  possible,  for  instance, 
erroneous  statements  of  fact,  and  yet  they  prove  nothing  against  the  duty 
of  searching  for  the  truth.  I  also  reject  this  in  the  very  interest  of  science. 
I  am  ready  to  prove  from  the  works  of  our  historians  that  whenever  the 
man  of  science  introduces  his  personal  value  judgment,  a  full  under- 
standing of  the  facts  ceases.  But  this  goes  beyond  tonight's  topic  and 
would  require  lengthy  elucidation. 

I  ask  only:  How  should  a  devout  Catholic,  on  the  one  hand,  and  a 
Freemason,  on  the  other,  in  a  course  on  the  forms  of  church  and  state 
or  on  religious  history  ever  be  brought  to  evaluate  these  subjects  alike? 


This  is  out  of  the  question.  And  yet  the  academic  teacher  must  desire 
and  must  demand  of  himself  to  serve  the  one  as  well  as  the  other  by  his 
knowledge  and  methods.  Now  you  will  rightly  say  that  the  devout 
Catholic  will  never  accept  the  view  of  the  factors  operative  in  bringing 
about  Christianity  which  a  teacher  who  is  free  of  his  dogmatic  presup- 
positions presents  to  him.  Certainly!  The  difference,  however,  lies  in  the 
following:  Science  'free  from  presuppositions,'  in  the  sense  of  a  rejection 
of  religious  bonds,  does  not  know  of  the  'miracle'  and  the  'revelation.' 
If  it  did,  science  would  be  unfaithful  to  its  own  'presuppositions.'  The 
believer  knows  both,  miracle  and  revelation.  And  science -^free  from^ 
presuppositions'  expects  from  him  no  less — and  no  more — than  acknowl- 
edgment that  //  the  process  can  be  explained  without  those  supernatural 
interventions,  wliich  an  empirical  explanation  has  to  eliminate  as  causal 
factors,  the  process  has  to  be  explained  the  way  science  attempts  to  do. 
And  the  believer  can  do  this  without  being  disloyal  to  his  faith. 

But  has  the  contribution  of  science  no  meaning  at  all  for  a  man  who 
does  not  care  to  know  facts  as  such  and  to  whom  only  the  practical 
standpoint  matters?  Perhaps  science  nevertheless  contributes  something. 

The__primary  task  of  a  useful  teacher  is  tojeach  his  students  jtoj-ecog- 
nize  'inconvenient'  facts — I  mean  facts  that  are  inconvenient  for  their 
party  opinions.  And  for  every  party  opinion  there  are  facts  that  are 
extremely  inconvenient,  for  my  own  opinion  no  less  than  for  others.  I 
believe  the  teacher  accomplishes  more  than  a  mere  intellectual  task  if  he 
compels  his  audience  to  accustom  itself  to  the  existence  of  such  facts.  I 
would  be  so  immodest  as  even  to  apply  the  expression  'moral  achieve- 
ment,' though  perhaps  this  may  sound  too  grandiose  for  something 
that  should  go  without  saying. 

Thus  far  I  have  spoken  only  of  practical  reasons  for  avoiding  the  im- 
position of  a  personal  point  of  view.  But  these  are  not  the  only  reasons. 
The  impossibility  of  'scientifically'  pleading  for  practical  and  interested 
stands — except  in  discussing  the  means  for  a  firmly  given  and  presup- 
posed end — rests  upon  reasons  that  lie  far  deeper. 

'Scientific'  pleading js  meaningless  in  principle  because  the  various', 
value  spheres  of  the  world  stand  in  irreconcilable  conflict  with  each 
other.TTie  elder  Mill,  whose  philosophy  I  will  not  praise  otherwise,  was 
on  this  point  right  when  he  said:  If  one  proceeds  from  pure  experience, 
one  arrives  at  polytheism.  This  is  shallow  in  formulation  and  sounds 
paradoxical,  and  yet  there  is  truth  in  it.  If  anything,  we  realize  again 
today  that  something  can  be  sacred  not  only  in  spite  of  its  not  being 


beautiful,  but  rather  because  and  in  so  far  as  it  is  not  beautiful.  You 
will  find  this  documented  in  the  fifty-third  chapter  of  the  book  of  Isaiah 
and  in  the  twenty-first  Psalm.  And,  since  Nietzsche,  we  realize  that 
something  can  be  beautiful,  not  only  in  spite  of  the  aspect  in  which  it  is 
not  good,  but  rather  in  that  very  aspect.  You  will  find  this  expressed 
earlier  in  the  Fl.eurs  du  mal,  as  Baudelaire  named  his  volume  of  poems. 
It  is  commonplace  to  observe  that  something  may  be  true  although 
it  is  not  beautiful  and  not  holy  and  not  good.  Indeed  it  may  be  true 
in  precisely  those  aspects.  But  all  these  are  only  the  most  elementary 
cases  of  the  struggle  that  the  gods  of  the  various  orders  and  values  are 
engaged  in.  I  do  not  know  how  one  might  wish  to  decide  'scientifically' 
the  value  of  French  and  German  culture;  for  here,  too,  different  gods 
struggle  with  one  another,  now  and  for  all  times  to  come.        %/  / 

We  live  as  did  the  ancients  when  their  world  was  not  yet  disenchanted 
of  its  gods  and  demons,  only  we  live  in  a  different  sense.  As  Hellenic 
man  at  times  sacrificed  to  Aphrodite  and  at  other  times  to  Apollo,  and, 
above  all,  as  everybody  sacrificed  to  the  gods  of  his  city,  so  do  we  still 
nowadays,  only  the  bearing  of  man  has  been  disenchanted  and  denuded 
of  its  mystical  but  inwardly  genuine  plasticity.  Fate,  and  certainly  not 
'science,'  holds  sway  over  these  gods  and  their  struggles.  One  can  on|y 
understand  what  the  godhead  is  for  the  one  order  or  for  the  ot^er,  or 
better,  what  godhead  is  in  the  one  or  in  the  other  order.  With_this 
understanding,  however,  the  matter  has  reached  its  limit  so  far  as  it  can 
be  discussed  in  a  lecture-room  and  by  a  professprj  Yet  the  great  and  vital 
problem  that  is  contained  therein  is,  of  course,  very  far  from  being  con- 
cluded. But  forces  other  than  university  chairs  have  their  say  in  this 

What  man  will  take  upon  himself  the  attempt  to  'refute  scientifically' 
the  ethic  of  the  Sermon  on  the  Mount?  For  instance,  the  sentence,  'resist 
no  evil,'  or  the  image  of  turning  the  other  cheek?  And  yet  it  is  clear, 
in  mundane  perspective,  that  this  is  an  ethic  of  undignified  conduct;  one 
has  to  choose  between  the  religious  dignity  which  this  ethic  confers  and 
the  dignity  of  manly  conduct  which  preaches  something  quite  different; 
'resist  evil — lest  you  be  co-responsible  for  an  overpowering  evil.'  Ac- 
cording to  our  ultimate  standpoint,  the  one  is  the  devil  and  the  other 
the  God,  and  the  individual  has  to  decide  which  is  God  for  him  and 
which  is  the  devil.  And  so  it  goes  throughout  all  the  orders  of  life. 

The  grandiose  rationalism  of  an  ethical  and  methodical  conduct  of  life 
which  flows  from  every  religious  prophecy  has  dethroned  this  polytheism 


in  favor  of  the  'one  thing  that  is  needful.'  Faced  with  the  realities  of 
outer  and  inner  life,  Christianity  has  deemed  it  necessary  to  make  those 
compromises  and  relative  judgments,  which  we  all  know  from  its  his- 
tory. Today  the  routines  of  everyday  life  challenge  religion.  Many  old 
gods  ascend  from  their  graves;  they  are  disenchanted  and  hence  take 
the  form  of  impersonal  forces.  They  strive  to  gain  power  over  our  lives 
and  again  they  resume  their  eternal  struggle  with  one  another.  What  is 
hard  for  modern  man,  and  especially  for  the  younger  generation,  is  to 
measure  up  to  workaday  existence.  The  ubiquitous  chase  for  'experience' 
stems  from  this  weakness;  for  it  is  weakness  not  to  be  able  to  countenance 
the  stern  seriousness  of  our  fateful  times. 

Our  civilization  destines  us  to  realize  more  clearly  these  struggles 
again,  after  our  eyes  have  been  blinded  for  a  thousand  years — ^blinded  by 
the  allegedly  or  presumably  exclusive  orientation  towards  the  grandiose 
moral  fervor  of  Christian  ethics.  —  '■    / 

But  enough  of  these  questions  which  lead  far  away.  Those  of  our 
youth  are  in  error  who  react  to  all  this  by  saying,  'Yes,  but  we  happen  , 
to  come  to  lectures  in  order  to  experience  something  more  than  mere 
analyses  and  statements  of  fact.'  The  error  is  that  they  seek  in  the  pro-  ^^A 

fessor  something  different  from  what  stands  before  them.  iThey  crave  a      ,• 
leader  and  not  a  teacher.  But  we  are  placed  upon  the  platform  solely  ,as_.,.^^-s^/ 
teachers.  And  these  are  two  different  things,  as  one  can  readily  see.  Permit 
me  to  take  you  once  more  to  America,  because  there  one  can  often  ob- 
serve such  matters  in  their  most  massive  and  original  shape. 

The  American  boy  learns  unspeakably  less  than  the  German  boy. 
In  spite  of  an  incredible  number  of  examinations,  his  school  life  has  not 
had  the  significance  of  turning  him  into  an  absolute  creature  of  ex- 
aminations, such  as  the  German.  For  in  America,  bureaucracy,  which 
presupposes  the  cxaminatieai,  diploma  as  a  ticket  of  admission  to  the 
realm  of  office  prebends,  is  only  in  its  beginnings.  The  young  American 
has  no  respect  for  anything  or  anybody,  for  tradition  or  for  public  office — 
unless  it  is  for  the  personal  achievement  of  individual  men.  This  is  what 
the  American  calls  'democracy.'  This  is  the  meaning  of  democracy,  how- 
ever distorted  its  intent  may  in  reality  be,  and  this  intent  is  what 
matters  here.  The  American's  conception  of  the  teacher  who  faces  him 
is:  he  sells  me  his  knowledge  and  his  methods  for  my  father's  money, 
just  as  the  greengrocer  sells  my  mother  cabbage.  And  that  is  all.  To  be 
sure,  if  the  teacher  happens  to  be  a  football  coach,  then,  in  this  field,  he  is 
a  leader.  But  if  he  is  not  this  (or  something  similar  in  a  different  field 


of  sports),  he  is  simply  a  teacher  and  nothing  more.  And  no  young 
American  would  think  of  having  the  teacher  sell  him  a  Weltanschauung 
or  a  code  of  conduct.  Now,  when  formulated  in  this  manner,  we  should 
reject  this.  But  the  question  is  whether  there  is  not  a  grain  of  salt 
contained  in  this  feeling,  which  I  have  deliberately  stated  in  extreme 
with  some  exaggeration. 

Fellow  students!  You  come  to  our  lectures  and  demand  from  us  the 
qualities  of  leadership,  and  you  fail  to  realize  in  advance  that  of  a 
M  hundred  professors  at  least  ninety-nine  do  not  and  must  not  claim  to 
I  be  football  masters  in  the  vital  problems  of  life,  or  even  to  be  'leaders' 
in  matters  of  conduct.  Please,  consider  that  a  man's  value  does  not  de- 
pend on  whether  or  not  he  has  leadership  qualities.  And  in  any  case,  the 
qualities  that  make  a  man  an  excellent  scholar  and  academic  teacher 
are  not  the  qualities  that  make  him  a  leader  to  give  directions  in  prac- 
tical life  or,  more  specifically,  in  politics.  It  is  pure  accident  if  a 
teacher  also  possesses  this  quality,  and  it  is  a  critical  situation  if  every 
teacher  on  the  platform  feels  himself  confronted  with  the  students'  ex- 
pectation that  the  teacher  should  claim  this  quality.  It  is  still  more  critical 
if  it  is  left  to  every  academic  teacher  to  set  himself  up  as  a  leader  in  the 
lecture-room.  For  those  who  most  frequently  think  of  themselves  as 
leaders  often  qualify  least  as  leaders.  But  irrespective  of  whether  they  are 
or  are  not,  the  platform  situation  simply  offers  no  possibility  of  proving 
themselves  to  be  leaders.  The  professor  who  feels  called  upon  to  act  as  a 
counselor  of  youth  and  enjoys  their  trust  may  prove  himself  a  man  in 
personal  human  relations  with  them.  And  if  he  feels  called  upon  to  in- 
tervene in  the  struggles  of  world  views  and  party  opinions,  he  may  do  so 
outside,  in  the  market  place,  in  the  press,  in  meetings,  in  associations, 
wherever  he  wishes.  But  after  all,  it  is  somewhat  too  convenient  to 
demonstrate  one's  courage  in  taking  a  stand  where  the  audience  and 
possible  opponents  are  condemned  to  silence. 

Finally,  you  will  put  the  question:  'If  this  is  so,  what  then  does 
science  actually  and  positively  contribute  to  practical  and  personal  "life".?' 
Therewith  we  are  back  again  at  the  problem  of  science  as  a  'vocation.' 

First,  of  course,  science  contributes_tojdhe_tech^ 
life  by  calculating  external  objects_as  .welLas  man's  activities.  Well,  you 
will  say,  that,  after  all,  amounts  to  no  more  than  the  greengrocer  of  the 
American  boy.  I  fully  agree. 

Second,  science  can  contribute  something  that  the  greengrocer  can- 
not: methods  of  thinking,  the  tools  and  the  training  for  thought.  Per- 


haps  you  will  say:  well,  that  is  no  vegetable,  but  it  amounts  to  no  more 
than  the  means  for  procuring  vegetables.  Well  and  good,  let  us  leave  it 
at  that  for  today. 

Fortunately,  however,  the  contribution  of  science  does  not  reach  its 
limit  with  this.  We  are  in  a  position  to  help  you  to  a  third  objective: 
to  gain  clarity.  Of  course,  it  is  presupposed  that  we  ourselves  possess 
clarity.  As  far  as~~this  is  the  case,  we  can  make  clear  to  you  the 

In  practice,  you  can  take  this  or  that  position  when  concerned  with  a 
problem  of  value — for  simplicity's  sake,  please  think  of  social  phenomena 
as  examples.  //  you  take  such  and  such  a  stand,  then,  according  to  scien- 
tific experience,  you  have  to  use  such  and  such  a  means  in  order  to 
carry  out  your  conviction  practically.  Now,  these  means  are  perhaps 
such  that  you  believe  you  must  reject  them.  Then  you  simply  must 
choose  between  the  end  and  the  inevitable  means.  Does  the  end  'justify' 
the  means?  Or  does  it  not?  The  teacher  can  confront  you  with  the 
necessity  of  this  choice.  He  cannot  do  more,  so  long  as  he  wishes  to  re- 
main a  teacher  and  not  to  become  a  demagogue.  He  can,  of  course, 
also  tell  you  that  if  you  want  such  and  such  an  end,  then  you  must  take 
into  the  bargain  the  subsidiary  consequences  which  according  to  all 
experience  will  occur.  Again  we  find  ourselves  in  the  same  situation 
as  before.  These  are  still  problems  that  can  also  emerge  for  the 
technician,  who  in  numerous  instances  has  to  make  decisions  according 
to  the  principle  of  the  lesser  evil  or  of  the  relatively  best.  Only  to  him  one 
thing,  the  main  thing,  is  usually  given,  namely,  the  end.  But  as  soon 
as  truly  'ultimate'  problems  are  at  stake  for  us  this  is  not  the  case. 
With  this,  at  long  last,  we  come  to  the  final  service  that  science  as  such 
can  render  to  the  aim  of  clarity,  and  at  the  same  time  we  come  to  the 
limits  of  science. 

Besides  we  can  and  we  should  state:  In  terms  of  its  meaning,  such 
and  such  a  practical  stand  can  be  derived  with  inner  consistency,  and 
hence  integrity,  from  this  or  that  ultimate  weltanschauliche  position. 
Perhaps  it  can  only  be  derived  from  one  such  fundamental  position,  or 
maybe  from  several,  but  it  cannot  be  derived  from  these  or  those  other 
positions.  Figuratively  speaking,  you  serve  this  god  and  you  offend  the 
other  god  when  you  decide  to  adhere  to  this  position.  And  if  you  remain 
faithful  to  yourself,  you  will  necessarily  come  to  certain  final  conclusions 
that  subjectively  make  sense.  This  much,  in  principle  at  least,  can  be 
accomplished.  Philosophy,  as  a   special   discipline,  and   the  essentially 


philosophical  discussions  of  principles  in  the  other  sciences  attempt  to 
achieve  this.  Thus,  if  we  are  competent  in  our  pursuit  (which  must  be 
presupposed  here)  we  can  force  the  individual,  or  at  least  we  can  help 
him,  to  give  himself  an  account  of  the  ultimate  meaning  of  his  own 
conduct.  This  appears  to  me  as  not  so  trifling  a  thing  to  do,  even  for 
one's  own  personal  life.  Again,  I  am  tempted  to  say  of  a  teacher  who 
succeeds  in  this:  he  stands  in  the  service  of  'moral'  forces;  he  fulfils  the 
duty  of  bringing  about  self-clarification  and  a  sense  of  responsibility. 
And  I  believe  he  will  be  the  more  able  to  accomplish  this,  the  more 
conscientiously  he  avoids  the  desire  personally  to  impose  upon  or  sug- 
gest to  his  audience  his  own  stand. 

This  proposition,  which  I  present  here,  always  takes  its  point  of 
departure  from  the  one  fundamental  fact,  that  so  long  as  life  remains 
immanent  and  is  interpreted  in  its  own  terms,  it  knows  only  of  an  un- 
ceasing struggle  of  these  gods  with  one  another.  Or  speaking  directly, 
the  ultimately  possible  attitudes  toward  Hfe  are  irreconcilable,  and 
hence  their  struggle  can  never  be  brought  to  a  final  conclusion.  Thus 
it  is  necessary  to  make  a  decisive  choice.  Whether,  under  such  condi- 
tions, science  is  a  worth  while  Vocation'  for  somebody,  and  whether 
science  itself  has  an  objectively  valuable  Vocation'  are  again  value  judg- 
ments about  which  nothing  can  be  said  in  the  lecture-room.  To  affirm 
the  value  of  science  is  a  presupposition  for  teaching  there.  I  personally 
by  my  very  work  answer  in  the  affirmative,  and  I  also  do  so  from 
precisely  the  standpoint  that  hates  intellectualism  as  the  worst  devil,  as 
youth  does  today,  or  usually  only  fancies  it  does.  In  that  case  the 
word  holds  for  these  youths:  'Mind  you,  the  devil  is  old;  grow  old  to 
understand  him.'  This  does  not  mean  age  in  the  sense  of  the  birth 
certificate.  It  means  that  if  one  wishes  to  settle  with  this  devil,  one  must 
not  take  to  flight  before  him  as  so  many  like  to  do  nowadays.  First  of 
all,  one  has  to  see  the  devil's  ways  to  the  end  in  order  to  realize  his  power 
and  his  limitations. 

Science  today  is  a  'vocation'  organized  in  special  disciphnes  in  the 
service  of  self-clarification  and  knowledge  of  interrelated  facts.  It  is  not 
the  gift  of  grace  of  seers  and  prophets  dispensing  sacred  values  and 
revelations,  nor  does  it  partake  of  the  contemplation  of  sages  and  phi- 
losophers about  the  meaning  of  the  universe.  This,  to  be  sure,  is  the 
inescapable  condition  of  our  historical  situation.  We  cannot  evade  it  so 
long  as  we  remain  true  to  ourselves.  And  if  Tolstoi's  question  recurs  to 
you:  as  science  does  not,  who  is  to  answer  the  question:  'What  shall  we 


do,  and,  how  shall  we  arrange  our  lives?'  or,  in  the  words  used  here 
tonight:  'Which  of  the  warring  gods  should  we  serve?  Or  should  we 
serve  perhaps  an  entirely  different  god,  and  who  is  he?'  then  one  can 
say  that  only  a  prophet  or  a  savior  can  give  the  answers.  If  there  is  no 
such  man,  or  if  his  message  is  no  longer  believed  in,  then  you  will  cer- 
tainly not  compel  him  to  appear  on  this  earth  by  having  thousands  of 
professors,  as  privileged  hirelings  of  the  state,  attempt  as  petty  prophets 
in  their  lecture-rooms  to  take  over  his  role.  All  they  will  accomplish  is 
to  show  that  they  are  unaware  of  the  decisive  state  of  affairs:  the  prophet 
for  whom  so  many  of  our  younger  generation  yearn  simply  does  not 
exist.  But  this  knowledge  in  its  forceful  significance  has  never  become 
vital  for  them.  The  inward  interest  of  a  truly  religiously  'musical'  man 
can  never  be  served  by  veiling  to  him  and  to  others  the  fundamental 
fact  that  he  is  destined  to  live  in  a  godless  and  prophetless  time  by 
giving  him  the  ersatz  of  armchair  prophecy.  The  integrity  of  his  re- 
ligious organ,  it  seems  to  me,  must  rebel  against  this. 

Now  you  will  be  inclined  to  say:  Which  stand  does  one  take  towards 
the  factual  existence  of  'theology'  and  its  claims  to  be  a  'science'?  Let  us 
not  flinch  and  evade  the  answer.  To  be  sure,  'theology'  and  'dogmas'  do 
not  exist  universally,  but  neither  do  they  exist  for  Christianity  alone. 
Rather  (going  backward  in  time),  they  exist  in  highly  developed 
form  also  in  Islam,  in  Manicheanism,  in  Gnosticism,  in  Orphism,  in 
Parsism,  in  Buddhism,  in  the  Hindu  sects,  in  Taoism,  and  in  the 
Upanishads,  and,  of  course,  in  Judaism.  To  be  sure  their  systematic 
development  varies  greatly.  It  is  no  accident  that  Occidental  Christianity 
— in  contrast  to  the  theological  possessions  of  Jewry — has  expanded  and 
elaborated  theology  more  systematically,  or  strives  to  do  so.  In  the  Occi- 
dent the  development  of  theology  has  had  by  far  the  greatest  historical 
significance.  This  is  the  product  of  the  Hellenic  spirit,  and  all  theology 
of  the  West  goes  back  to  it,  as  (obviously)  all  theology  of  the  East  goes 
back  to  Indian  thought.  All  theology  represents  an  intellectual  ration- 
alization of  the  possession  of  sacred  values.  No  science  is  jbsolutely  free  i^j 
from,  presuppositions,  and  no  science  can  prove  its  fundamental  value 
to  the  man  who  rej  erts  th ese  pre?^i ippo^sitionsr~Every~tKeology',  however, 
adds  a  few  specific  presuppositions  for  its  work  and  thus  for  the  justifica- 
tion of  its^eHstehce.  Their  meaning  and  scope  vary.  Every  theology,  in- 
cluding for  instance  Hinduist  theology,  presupposes  that  the  world  must 
have  a  meaning,  and  the  question  is  how  to  interpret  this  meaning  so 
tjiat  it  is  intellectually  conceivable. 


It  is  the  same  as  with  Kant's  epistemology.  He  took  for  his  point  of 
departure  the  presupposition:  'Scientific  truth  exists  and  it  is  valid7 
and  then  asked:  'Under  which  presuppositions  of  thought  is  truTE^ 
possible  and  meaningful?'  The  modern  aestheticians  (actually  or  ex- 
pressly, as  for  instance,  G.  v.  Lukacs)  proceed  from  the  presupposition 
that  'works  of  art  exist,'  and  then  ask:  'How  is  their  existence  meaning- 
ful and  possible?' 

As  a  rule,  theologies,  however,  do  not  content  themselves  with  this 
(essentially  religious  and  philosophical)  presupposition.  They  regularly 
proceed  from  the  further  presupposition  that  certain  'revelations'  are 
facts  relevant  for  salvation  and  as  such  make  possible  a  meaningful 
conduct  of  life.  Hence,  these  revelations  must  be  believed  in.  Moreover, 
theologies  presuppose  that  certain  subjective  states  and  acts  possess  the 
quality  of  holiness,  that  is,  they  constitute  a  way  of  Ufe,  or  at  least  ele- 
ments of  one,  that  is  religiously  meaningful.  Then  the  question  of  the- 
ology is:  How  can  these  presuppositions,  which  must  simply  be  accepted 
be  meaningfully  interpreted  in  a  view  of  the  universe?  For  theology, 
these  presuppositions  as  such  lie  beyond  the  limits  of  'science.'  They  do 
not  represent  'knowledge,'  in  the  usual  sense,  but  rather  a  'possession.' 
Whoever  does  not  'possess'  faith,  or  the  other  holy  states,  cannot  have 
theology  as  a  substitute  for  them,  least  of  all  any  other  science.  On  the 
contrary,  in  every  'positive'  theology,  the  devout  reaches  the  point  where 
the  Augustinian  sentence  holds :  credo  non  quod,  sed  quia  absurdum  est. 

The  capacity  for  the  accomplishment  of  religious  virtuosos — the  'intel- 
lectual sacrifice' — is  the  decisive  characteristic  of  the  positively  religious 
man.  That  this  is  so  is  shown  by  the  fact  that  in  spite  (or  rather  in  con- 
sequence) of  theology  (which  unveils  it)  the  tension  between  the  value- 
spheres  of  'science'  and  the  sphere  of  'the  holy'  is  unbridgeable.  Legiti- 
mately, only  the  disciple  offers  the  'intellectual  sacrifice'  to  the  prophet, 
the  believer  to  the  church.  Never  as  yet  has  a  new  prophecy  emerged 
(and  I  repeat  here  deliberately  this  image  which  has  offended  some)  by 
way  of  the  need  of  some  modern  intellectuals  to  furnish  their  souls  with, 
so  to  speak,  guaranteed  genuine  antiques.  In  doing  so,  they  happen  to 
remember  that  religion  has  belonged  among  such  antiques,  and  of  all 
things  religion  is  what  they  do  not  possess.  By  way  of  substitute,  however, 
they  play  at  decorating  a  sort  of  domestic  chapel  with  small  sacred  images 
from  all  over  the  world,  or  they  produce  surrogates  through  all  sorts  of 
psychic  experiences  to  which  they  ascribe  the  dignity  of  mystic  holiness, 
which  they  peddle  in  the  book  market.  This  is  plain  humbug  or  self- 


deception.  It  is,  however,  no  humbug  but  rather  something  very  sincere 
and  genuine  if  some  of  the  youth  groups  who  during  recent  years  have 
quietly  grown  together  give  their  human  community  the  interpretation 
of  a  reUgious,  cosmic,  or  mystical  relation,  although  occasionally  perhaps 
such  interpretation  rests  on  misunderstanding  of  self.  True  as  it  is  that 
every  act  of  genuine  brotherliness  may  be  linked  with  the  awareness 
that  it  contributes  something  imperishable  to  a  super-personal  realm,  it 
seems  to  me  dubious  whether  the  dignity  of  purely  human  and  com- 
munal relations  is  enhanced  by  these  religious  interpretations.  But  that 
is  no  longer  our  theme. 

The  fate  of  our  times  is  characterized  by  rationalization  and  intel- 
lectualization  and,  above  all^__bY^]^e~^disenchantmunr~6f  the  world.' 
Precisely  the  ultimate  and  most  sublime  values  have  repeated"  "fronT 
public  life  either  into  the  transcendental  realm  of  mystic  life  or  into  the 
brotherliness  of  direct  and  personal  human  relations.  It  is  not  accidental 
that  our  greatest  art  is  intimate  and  not  monumental,  nor  is  it  accidental 
that  today  only  within  the  smallest  and  intimate  circles,  in  personal 
human  situations,  in  pianissimo,  that  something  is  pulsating  that  corre- 
sponds to  the  prophetic  pneuma,  which  in  former  times  swept  through 
the  great  communities  like  a  firebrand,  welding  them  together.  If  we 
attempt  to  force  and  to  'invent'  a  monumental  style  in  art,  such  miserable 
monstrosities  are  produced  as  the  many  monuments  of  the  last  twenty 
years.  If  one  tries  intellectually  to  construe  new  religions  without  a  new 
and  genuine  prophecy,  then,  in  an  inner  sense,  something  similar  will 
result,  but  with  still  worse  effects.  And  academic  prophecy,  finally,  will 
create  only  fanatical  sects  but  never  a  genuine  community. 

To  the  person  who  cannot  bear  the  fate  of  the  times  like  a  man,  one 
must  say:  may  he  rather  return  silently,  without  the  usual  publicity 
build-up  of  renegades,  but  simply  and  plainly.  The  arms  of  the  old 
churches  are  opened  widely  and  compassionately  for  him.  After  all,  they 
do  not  make  it  hard  for  him.  One  way  or  another  he  has  to  bring  his 
'intellectual  sacrifice' — that  is  inevitable.  If  he  can  really  do  it,  we  shall 
not  rebuke  him.  For  such  an  intellectual  sacrifice  in  favor  of  an  uncon- 
ditional religious  devotion  is  ethically  quite  a  different  matter  than  the 
evasion  of  the  plain  duty  of  intellectual  integrity,  which  sets  in  if  one 
lacks  the  courage  to  clarify  one's  own  ultimate  standpoint  and  rather 
facilitates  this  duty  by  feeble  relative  judgments.  In  my  eyes,  such  re- 
ligious return  stands  higher  than  the  academic  prophecy,  which  does  not 
clearly  realize  that  in  the  lecture-rooms  of  the  university  no  other  virtue 


holds  but  plain  intellectual  integrity.  Integrity,  however,  compels  us  to 
state  that  for  the  many  who  today  tarry  for  new  prophets  and  saviors, 
the  situation  is  the  same  as  resounds  in  the  beautiful  Edomite  watchman's 
song  of  the  period  of  exile  that  has  been  included  among  Isaiah's  oracles: 

He  calleth  to  me  out  of  Seir,  Watchman,  what  of  the  night?  The  watch- 
man said,  The  morning  cometh,  and  also  the  night:  if  ye  will  enquire,  en- 
quire ye:  return,  come. 

The  people  to  whom  this  was  said  has  enquired  and  tarried  for  more 
than  two  millennia,  and  we  are  shaken  when  we  realize  its  fate.  From  this 
we  want  to  draw  the  lesson  that  nothing  is  gained  by  yearning  and 
tarrying  alone,  and  we  shall  act  differently.  We  shall  set  to  work  and 
meet  the  'demands  of  the  day,'  in  human  relations  as  well  as  in  our 
vocation.  This,  however,  is  plain  and  simple,  if  each  finds  and  obeys 
the  demon  who  holds  the  fibers  of  his  very  life. 

Part  II 

V  I.  ^Structures  ol  x  ower 

I :  The  Prestige  and  Power  of  the  'Great  Powers' 

All  political  structures  use  force,  but  they  differ  in  the  manner  in  which  -». 
and  the  extent  to  which  they  use  or  threaten  to  use  it  against  other  po- 
litical organizations.  These  differences  play  a  specific  role  in  determining 
the  form  and  destiny  of  political  communities.  Not  all  political  structures 
are  equally  'expansive.'  They  do  not  all  strive  for  an  outward  expansion 
of  their  power,  or  keep  their  force  in  readiness  for  acquiring  political 
power  over  other  territories  and  communities  by  incorporating  them  or 
making  them  dependent.  Hence,  as  structures  of  power,  political  organiza- 
tions vary  in  the  extent  to  which  they  are  turned  outward. 

The  political  structure  of  Switzerland  is  'neutralized'  through  a  col- 
lective guarantee  of  the  Great  Powers.  For  various  reasons,  Switzerland 
is  not  very  strongly  desired  as  an  object  for  incorporation.  Mutual  jeal- 
ousies existing  among  neighboring  communities  of  equal  strength  pro- 
tect it  from  this  fate.  Switzerland,  as  well  as  Norway,  is  less  threatened 
than  is  the  Netherlands,  which  possesses  colonies;  and  the  Netherlands 
is  less  threatened  than  Belgium,  for  the  latter's  colonial  possessions  are 
especially  exposed,  as  is  Belgium  herself  in  case  of  war  between  her 
powerful  neighbors.  Sweden  too  is  quite  exposed. 

The  attitude  of  political  structures  towards  the  outside  may  be  more 
'isolationist'  or  more  'expansive.'  And  such  attitudes  change.  The  power 
of  poHtical  structures  has  a  specific  internal  dynamic.  On  the  basis  of 
this  power,  the  members  may  pretend  to  a  special  'prestige,'  and  their     /^ 
pretensions  may  influence  the  external  conduct  of  the  power  structures. 

Wirtschaft  und  Gesellschajt  (Tubingen,  1922  edition),  part  iii,  chap.  3,  pp.  619-30;  and 
Gesammelte  Aufsaetze  ztir  Soziologie  und  Sozialpoliti\  (Tubingen,  1924),  pp.  484-6. 
Wirtschaft  und  Gesellschajt  appeared  posthumously  (1921)  as  part  of  the  Grund- 
riss  fiir  Sozialokonomik,  handled  by  J.  C.  B.  Mohr  (P.  Siebeck),  Tubingen.  Weber  worked 
on  the  descriptive  parts  of  Wirtschaft  und  Gesellschaft  from  1910,  and  most  of  the  chapters 
were  essentially  written  before  1914. 


1 60  POWER 

Experience  teaches  that  claims  to  prestige  have  always  played  into  the 
origin  of  wars.  Their  part  is  difficult  to  gauge;  it  cannot  be  determined 
in  general,  but  it  is  very  obvious.  The  realm  of  'honor,'  which  is  com- 
parable to  the  'status  order'  within  a  social  structure,  pertains  also  to  the 
interrelations  of  poUtical  structures. 

Feudal  lords,  like  modern  officers  or  bureaucrats,  are  the  natural  and 
primary  exponents  of  this  desire  for  power-oriented  prestige  for  one's 
own  political  structure.  Power  for  their  political  community  means 
power  for  themselves,  as  well  as  the  prestige  based  on  this  power. 

For  the  bureaucrat  and  the  officer,  an  expansion  of  power,  however, 
means  more  office  positions,  more  sinecures,  and  better  opportunities 
for  promotion.  (This  last  may  be  the  case  even  for  the  officer  in  a  lost 
war.)  For  the  feudal  vassal,  expansion  of  power  means  the  acquisition 
of  new  objects  for  inteudation  and  more  provisions  for  his  progeny.  In 
his  speech  promoting  the  crusades,  Pope  Urban  focused  attention  on 
these  opportunities  and  not,  as  has  been  said,  on  'overpopulation.' 

Besides  and  beyond  these  direct  economic  interests,  which  naturally 
exist  everv  where  among  strata  hving  off  the  exercise  of  poHtical  power, 
V,the  striving  for  prestige  pertains  to  all  specific  power  structures  and  hence 
to  all  political  structures.  This  striving  is  not  identical  simply  with  'na- 
tional pride' — of  this,  more  later — and  it  is  not  identical  with  the  mere 
pride  in  the  excellent  quaUties,  actual  or  presimied,  of  one's  own  political 
community  or  in  the  mere  possession  of  such  a  polit\'.  Such  pride  can  be 
highly  developed,  as  is  the  case  among  the  Swiss  and  the  Norwegians, 
yet  it  may  actually  be  strictly  isolationist  and  free  from  pretension  to 
political  prestige. 

The  prestige  of  power,  as  such,  means  in  practice  the  glory  of  power 
over  other  communities;  it  means  the  expansion  of  power,  though  not 
always  by  way  of  incorporation  or  subjection.  The  big  poHtical  com- 
munities are  the  natural  exponents  of  such  pretensions  to  prestige. 

Every  political  structure  naturally  prefers  to  have  weak  rather  than 
strong  neighbors.  Furthermore,  as  everv  big  poHtical  community  is  a 
potential  aspirant  to  prestige  and  a  potential  threat  to  all  its  neighbors, 
the  big  poHtical  community,  simply  because  it  is  big  and  strong,  is  la- 
tently and  constantly  endangered.  Finally,  by  virtue  of  an  unavoidable 
'dynamic  of  power,'  wherever  claims  to  prestige  flame  up — and  this 
normally  results  from  an  acute  poHtical  danger  to  peace — they  chaUenge 
and  call  forth  the  competition  of  all  other  possible  bearers  of  prestige. 
The  history  of  the  last  decade,^  especially  the  relations  between  Germany 


and  France,  shows  the  prominent  effect  of  this  irrational  element  in  all 
political  foreign  relations.  The  sentiment  of  prestige  is  able  to  strengthen 
the  ardent  belief  in  the  actual  existence  of  one's  own  might,  for  this 
behef  is  important  for  positive  self-assurance  in  case  of  conflict.  Therefore, 
all  those  having  vested  interests  in  the  political  structure  tend  systemati- 
cally to  cultivate  this  prestige  sentiment.  Nowadays  one  usually  refers 
to  those  polities  that  appear  to  be  the  bearers  of  power  prestige  as  the 
'Great  Powers.' 

Among  a  plurality  of  co-existing  polities,  some,  the  Great  Powers, 
usually  ascribe  to  themselves  and  usurp  an  interest  in  poHtical  and 
economic  processes  over  a  wide  orbit.  Today  such  orbits  encompass  the 
whole  surface  of  the  planet. 

During  Hellenic  Antiquity,  the  'King,'  that  is,  the  Persian  king,  de- 
spite his  defeat,  was  the  most  widely  recognized  Great  Power.  Sparta 
turned  to  him  in  order  to  impose,  with  his  sanction,  the  King's  Peace 
(Peace  of  Antalcidas)  upon  the  Hellenic  world.  Later  on,  before  the 
establishment  of  an  empire,  the  Roman  poHty  assumed  such  a  role. 

For  general  reasons  of  'power  dynamics'  per  se,  the  Great  Powers  are 
very  often  expansive  powers;  that  is,  they  are  associations  aiming  at  ex- 
panding the  territories  of  their  respective  poHtical  communities  bv  the 
use  or  the  threat  of  force  or  bv  both.  Great  Powers,  however,  are  not 
necessarily  and  not  always  oriented  towards  expansion.  Their  attitude 
in  this  respect  often  changes,  and  in  these  changes  economic  factors  play 
a  weighty  part. 

For  a  time  British  policy,  for  instance,  quite  deliberately  renimciated 
further  political  expansion.  It  renounced  even  the  retention  of  colonies 
by  means  of  force  in  favor  of  a  'Uttle  England'  poHcy,  resting  upon  an 
isolationist  limitation  and  a  reHance  on  an  economic  primacy  held  to  be 
unshakable.  Influential  representatives  of  the  Roman  rule  bv  notables 
would  have  liked  to  carry  through  a  similar  program  of  a  'httle  Rome' 
after  the  Punic  Wars,  to  restrict  Roman  pohtical  subjection  to  Italv  and 
the  neighboring  islands. 

The  Spartan  aristocrats,  so  far  as  they  were  able,  quite  deliberately 
limited  their  political  expansion  for  the  sake  of  isolation.  They  restricted 
themselves  to  the  smashing  of  all  other  political  structures  that  endan- 
gered their  power  and  prestige.  They  favored  the  particularism  of  city 
states.  Usually,  in  such  cases,  and  in  many  similar  ones,  the  ruling  groups 
of  notables  (the  Roman  nobilitv  of  office,  the  English  and  other  liberal 
notables,  the  Spartan  overlords)  harbor  more  or  less  distinct  fears  lest 

1 62  POWER 

an  'Imperator,'  that  is,  a  charismatic  war  lord,  emerge.  A  tendency  to- 
wards centraHzation  o£  power  goes  very  readily  with  a  chronically  con- 
quering 'imperialism,'  and  the  war  lord  might  gain  the  ascendancy  at 
the  expense  of  the  power  of  the  ruling  notables. 

Like  the  Romans,  the  British,  after  a  short  time,  were  forced  out  of 
their  policy  of  self-restraint  and  pressed  into  political  expansion.  This 
occurred,  in  part,  through  capitalist  interests  in  expansion. 

2:  The  Economic  Foundations  of  'Imperialism' 

yune  might  be  inclined  to  beUeve  that  the  formation  as  well  as  the 
expansion  of  Great  Power  structures  is  always  and  primarily  determined 
economically.  The  assumption  that  trade,  especially  if  it  is  intensive  and 
if  it  already  exists  in  an  area,  is  the  normal  prerequisite  and  the  reason 
for  its  poHtical  unification  might  readily  be  generalized.  In  individual 
cases  this  assumption  does  actually  hold.  The  example  of  the  Zollverein  " 
lies  close  at  hand,  and  there  are  numerous  others.  Closer  attention,  how- 
ever, very  often  reveals  that  this  coincidence  is  not  a  necessary  oneTand 
that  the  causal  nexus  by  no  means  always  points  in  a  single  direction. 

Germany,  for  instance,  has  been  made  into  a  unified  economic  terri- 
tory only  through  custom  frontiers  at  her  borders,  which,  in  their  course, 
were  determined  in  a  purely  political  manner.i/If  the  inhabitants  of  a 
territory  seek  to  sell  their  products  primarily  in  their  own  market,  we 
may  speak  of  an  economically  unified  territory.  Were  all  custom  barriers 
eliminated,  the  economically  determined  market  for  the  Eastern  German 
cereal  surplus,  poor  in  gluten,  would  not  be  Western  Germany  but 
rather  England.  The  economically  determined  market  of  the  mining 
products  and  the  heavy  iron  goods  of  Western  Germany  is  by  no  means 
Eastern  Germany;  and  Western  Germany  is  not,  in  the  main,  the  eco- 
nomically determined  supplier  of  the  industrial  products  for  Eastern 
Germany.  Above  all,  the  interior  lines  of  communications  (railroads)  of 
Germany  would  not  be — and,  in  part,  are  not  now — economically  deter- 
mined routes  for  transporting  heavy  goods  between  east  and  west. 
Eastern  Germany,  however,  would  be  the  economic  location  for  strong 
industries,  the  economically  determined  market  and  hinterland  for 
which  would  be  the  whole  of  Western  Russia.  Such  industries  are  now  ^ 
cut  off  by  Russian  custom  barriers  and  have  been  moved  to  Poland, 
directly  behind  the  Russian  custom  frontier.  Through  this  development, 
as  is  known,  the  political  Anschluss  of  the  Russian  Poles  to  the  Russian 


imperial  idea,  which  seemed  to  be  poHtically  out  o£  the  question,  has 
been  brought  into  the  realm  of  possibility.  Thus,  in  this  case,  purely 
economically  determined  market  relations  have  a  politically  unifying 

Germany,  however,  has  been  politically  united  against  the  economic 
determinants  as  such.  It  is  not  unusual  for  the  frontiers  of  a  polity  to 
conflict  with  the  mere  geographically  given  location  of  industries;  the 
political  frontiers  may  encompass  an  area  that,  in  terms  of  economic 
factors,  strives  to  separate  from  it.  In  such  situations,  tensions  between 
economic  interests  nearly  always  arise.  However,  if  the  political  bond  is 
once  created,  it  is  very  often,  yet  not  always,  so  incomparably  stronger 
that  under  otherwise  favorable  conditions  (e.g.  the  existence  of  a  com- 
mon language)  nobody  would  even  think  of  political  separation  because 
of  such  economic  tensions.  This  applies,  for  instance,  to  Germany. 
''  The  formation  of  great  states  does  not  always  follow  the  routes  of 
export  trade,  although  nowadays  we  are  inclined  to  see  things  in  this 
imperialist  wayi  As  a  rule,  the  'continental'  imperialism — European,  Rus- 
sian, and  American — just  like  the  'overseas  imperialism'  of  the  British 
and  of  those  modeled  after  it,  follow  the  tracks  of  previously  existing 
capitalist  interests,  especially  in  foreign  areas  that  are  politically  weak. 
And  of  course,  at  least  for  the  formation  of  great  overseas  dominions  of 
the  past — in  the  overseas  empires  of  Athens,  Carthage,  and  Rome — export 
trade  played  its  decisive  part. 

Yet,  even  in  these  state  organizations  of  Antiquity  other  economic  inter- 
ests were  at  least  of  equal  and  often  of  far  greater  importance  than  were 
commercial  profits:  ground  rents,  farmed-out  taxes,  office  fees,  and  simi- 
lar gains  were  especially  desired.  In  foreign  trade,  in  turn,  the  interest  in 
selling  within  foreign  territories  definitely  receded  into  the  background 
as  a  motive  for  expansion.  In  the  age  of  modern  capitalism  the  interest 
in  exporting  to  foreign  territories  is  dominant,  but  in  the  ancient  states 
the  interest  was  rather  in  the  possession  of  territories  from  which  goods 
(raw  materials)  could  be  imported. 

Among  the  great  states  that  have  formed  on  the  inland  plains,  the  ex- 
change of  goods  played  no  regular  or  decisive  part.  The  trading  of  goods 
was  most  relevant  for  the  river-border  states  of  the  Orient,  especially  for 
Egypt;  that  is,  for  states  that  in  this  respect  were  similar  to  overseas  states. 
The  'empire'  of  the  Mongols,  however,  certainly  did  not  rest  on  any 
intensive  trade  in  goods.  There,  the  mobility  of  the  ruling  stratum 
of  horsemen  made  up  for  the  lack  of  material  means  of  communication 

164  POWER 

and  made  centralized  administration  possible.  Neither  the  Chinese,  nor 
the  Persian,  nor  the  Roman  Empire  after  its  transition  from  a  coastal 
to  a  continental  empire,  originated  and  maintained  itself  on  the  basis 
of  a  pre-existing  and  a  particularly  intensive  inland  traffic  in  goods  or 
highly  developed  means  of  communication.  The  continental  expansion 
of  Rome  was  undoubtedly  very  strongly,  though  not  exclusively,  deter- 
mined by  capitalist  interests;  and  these  interests  were  above  all  the 
interests  of  tax-farmers,  office  hunters,  and  land  speculators.  They  were 
not,  in  the  first  place,  the  interests  of  groups  pursuing  a  particularly  in- 
tensive trade  in  goods. 

The  expansion  of  Persia  was  not  in  any  way  served  by  capitalist  inter- 
est groups.  Such  groups  did  not  exist  there  as  motivating  forces  or  as 
pace-makers,  and  just  as  little  did  they  serve  the  founders  of  the  Chi- 
nese Empire  or  the  founders  of  the  Carolingian  Monarchy, 

Of  course,  even  in  these  cases,  the  economic  importance  of  trade  was 
not  altogether  absent;  yet  other  motives  have  played  their  part  in  every 
political  overland  expansion  of  the  past,  including  the  Crusades.  These 
motives  have  included  the  interest  in  higher  princely  incomes,  in  preb- 
ends, fiefs,  offices,  and  social  honors  for  the  vassals,  knights,  officers, 
officials,  the  younger  sons  of  hereditary  officeholders,  and  so  on.  The 
interests  of  trading  seaports  have  not,  of  course,  been  so  decisive  as  has 
overland  expansion,  although  they  were  important  as  additional  factors 
playing  their  secondary  parts.  The  First  Crusade  was  mainly  an  overland 

By  no  means  has  trade  always  pointed  the  way  for  political  expansion. 
The  causal  nexus  has  very  often  been  the  reverse.  Among  the  empires 
named  above,  those  which  had  an  administration  technically  able  to 
establish  at  least  overland  means  of  communication  did  so  for  adminis- 
trative purposes.  In  principle,  this  has  often  been  the  exclusive  purpose, 
regardless  of  whether  or  not  the  means  of  communication  were  ad- 
vantageous for  existing  or  future  trading  needs. 

^  Under  present-day  conditions,  Russia  may  well  be  considered  a  polity 
whose  means  of  communication  (railroads  today)  have  been  primarily 
determined  not  economically  but  rather  politically. /The  Austrian  south- 
ern railroad,  however,  is  another  example.  (Its  shares  are  still  called 
'lombards,'  a  term  loaded  with  political  reminiscences.)  And  there  is 
hardly  a  polity  without  'strategic  railroads,'  Nevertheless,  great  achieve- 
ments of  this  kind  have  been  made  with  the  concomitant  expectation 
of  a  traffic  giiaranteeing  long-run  profitableness.  It  was  no  different  in 


the  past:  it  cannot  be  proved  that  the  ancient  Roman  miUtary  highroads 
served  a  commercial  purpose;  and  it  certainly  was  not  the  case  for  the 
Persian  and  Roman  mail  posts,  which  served  exclusively  political  pur- 
poses, ifi  spite  of  this,  however,  the  development  of  trade  in  the  past  has 
of  course  been  the  normal  result  of  political  unification.  Political  uni- 
fication first  placed  trade  upon  an  assured  and  guaranteed  legal  basis. 
Even  this  rule,  however,  is  not  without  exceptions.  For,  besides  depend- 
ing on  pacification  and  formal  guarantees  of  law  enforcement,  the  de- 
velopment of  trade  has  been  bound  to  certain  economic  conditions  (espe- 
cially the  development  of  capitalism). 

The  evolution  of  capitalism  may  be  strangled  by  the  manner  in  which 
a  unified  political  structure  is  administered.  This  was  the  case,  for  in- 
stance, in  the  late  Roman  Empire.  Here  a  unified  structure  took  the 
place  of  a  league  of  city  states;  it  was  based  upon  a  strong  subsistence 
agrarian  economy.  This  increasingly  made  for  liturgies  as  the  way  of 
raising  the  means  for  the  army  and  the  administration;  and  these  directly 
suffocated  capitalism. 

Yet,  if  trade  in  itself  is  by  no  means  the  decisive  factor  in  political 
expansion,  the  economic  structure  in  general  does  co-determine  the  extent 
and  manner  of  political  expansion.  Besides  women,  cattle,  and  slaves, 
scarce  land  is  one  of  the  original  and  foremost  objects  of  forceful  acquisi- 
tion. For  conquering  peasant  communities,  the  natural  way  is  to  take  the 
land  directly  and  to  wipe  out  its  settled  population. 

The  Teutonic  people's  movement  has,  on  the  whole,  taken  this  course 
only  to  a  moderate  degree.  As  a  compact  mass,  this  movement  probably 
went  somewhat  beyond  the  present  linguistic  frontiers,  but  only  in  scat- 
tered zones.  How  far  a  'land  scarcity,'  caused  by  overpopulation,  con- 
tributed, how  far  the  political  pressure  of  other  tribes,  or  simply  good 
opportunities,  must  be  left  open.  In  any  case,  some  of  the  individual 
groups  who  went  out  for  conquest  over  a  long  period  of  time  reserved 
their  claims  to  the  arable  land  back  home,  in  case  they  should  return.  The 
.^and  of  foreign  territories  has  been  politically  incorporated  in  more  or 
less  violent  fashion.  / 

Since  land  is  important  for  the  way  in  which  the  victor  will  exploit 
his  rights,  it  also  plays  an  important  role  for  other  economic  structures. 
As  Franz  Oppenheimer  again  and  again  has  rightly  emphasized,  ground 
rent  is  frequently  the  product  of  violent  political  subjection.  Given  a 
subsistence  economy  and  a  feudal  structure  this  subjection  means,  of 
course,  that  the  peasantry  of  the  incorporated  area  will  not  be  wiped 

1 66  POWER 

out  but  rather  will  be  spared  and  made  tributary  to  the  conqueror,  who 
becomes  the  landlord.  This  has  happened  wherever  the  army  was  no 
longer  a  V olkjheerbann  composed  of  self-equipped  freemen,  or  yet  a 
mercenary  or  bureaucratic  mass  army,  but  rather  an  army  of  self- 
equipped  knights,  as  was  the  case  with  the  Persians,  the  Arabs,  the  Turks, 
the  Normans,  and  the  Occidental  feudal  vassals  in  general. 

The  interest  in  ground  rent  has  also  meant  a  great  deal  for  plutocratic 
trading  communities  engaged  in  conquest.  As  commercial  profits  were 
preferably  invested  in  land  and  in  indebted  bondsmen,  the  normal  aim  of 
warfare,  even  in  Antiquity,  was  to  gain  fertile  land  fit  to  yield  ground 
rent.  The  Lelantine  War,'*  which  marked  a  sort  of  epoch  in  early  Hellenic 
history,  was  almost  wholly  carried  on  at  sea  and  among  trading  cities. 
But  the  original  object  of  dispute  between  the  leading  patricians  of 
Chalcis  and  Eretria,  besides  tributes  of  various  sorts,  was  the  fertile 
Lelantine  plain.  One  of  the  most  important  privileges  that  the  Attic 
Maritime  League  evidently  offered  to  the  demos  of  the  ruling  city  was 
to  break  up  the  land  monopoly  of  the  subject  cities.  The  Athenians  were 
to  receive  the  right  to  acquire  and  mortgage  land  anywhere. 

The  establishment  of  commercitim  among  cities  allied  to  Rome  meant 
in  practice  the  same  thing.  Also,  the  overseas  interests  of  the  mass  of 
Italics  settled  throughout  the  Roman  sphere  of  influence  certainly  repre- 
sented, at  least  in  part,  land  interests  of  an  essentially  capitalist  nature, 
as  we  know  them  from  the  Verrinic  speeches. 

During  its  expansion,  the  capitalist  interest  in  land  may  come  into 
conflict  with  the  land  interest  of  the  peasantry.  Under  a  policy  of  expan- 
sion, such  a  conflict  has  played  its  part  in  the  struggles  between  the 
Roman  estates  in  the  long  epoch  ending  with  the  Gracchi.  The  big  hold- 
ers of  money,  cattle,  and  men  naturally  wished  the  newly  gained  land 
to  be  dealt  with  as  public  land  for  lease  {ager  publicus).  As  long  as  the 
regions  were  not  too  remote,  the  peasants  demanded  that  the  land  be 
partitioned  in  order  to  provide  for  their  progeny.  The  compromises  be- 
tween these  two  interests  are  distinctly  reflected  in  tradition,  although  the 
details  are  certainly  not  very  reliable. 

Rome's  overseas  expansion,  as  far  as  it  was  economically  determined, 
shows  features  that  have  since  recurred  in  basic  outline  again  and 
again  and  which  still  recur  today.  These  features  occurred  in  Rome  in 
pronounced  fashion  and  in  gigantic  dimensions,  for  the  first  time  in 
history.  However  fluid  the  transitions  to  other  types  may  be,  these 
'Roman'  features  are  peculiar  to  a  specific  type  of  capitalist  relations, 


or  rather,  they  provide  the  conditions  for  the  existence  of  this  specific 
type,  which  we  wish  to  call  imperialist  capitalism. 

These  features  are  rooted  in  the  capitalist  interests  of  tax-farmers,  of 
state  creditors,  of  suppliers  to  the  state,  of  overseas  traders  privileged 
by  the  state,  and  of  colonial  capitalists.  The  profit  opportunities  of  all 
these  groups  rest  upon  the  direct  exploitation  of  executive  powers,  that  is, 
of  political  power  directed  towards  expansion. 

By  forcibly  enslaving  the  inhabitants,  or  at  least  tying  them  to  the 
soil  {glebae  adscriptio)  and  exploiting  them  as  plantation  labor,  the 
acquisition  of  overseas  colonies  brings  tremendous  opportunities  for 
profit  for  capitalist  interest-groups.  The  Carthaginians  seem  to  have 
been  the  first  to  have  arranged  such  an  organization  on  a  large  scale; 
the  Spaniards  in  South  America,  the  English  in  the  Southern  States  of 
the  Union,  and  the  Dutch  in  Indonesia  were  the  last  to  do  it  in  the  grand 
manner.  The  acquisition  of  overseas  colonies  also  facilitates  the  forceful 
monopolization  of  trade  with  these  colonies  and  possibly  with  other 
areas.  Wherever  the  administrative  apparatus  of  the  polity  is  not  suited 
for  the  collection  of  taxes  from  the  newly  occupied  territories — of  this, 
later — the  taxes  give  opportunities  for  profit  to  capitalist  tax-farmers. 

The  material  implements  of  war  may  be  part  of  the  equipment  pro- 
vided by  the  army  itself,  as  is  the  case  in  pure  feudalism.  But  if  these  im- 
plements are  furnished  by  the  polity,  rather  than  by  the  army,  then  ex-.,  f 
pansion  through  war  and  the  procurement  of  armaments  to  prepare  for  ' 
war  represent  by  far  the  most  profitable  occasion  for  the  raising  of  loans 
on  the  largest  scale.  The  profit  opportunities  of  capitalist  state  creditors 
then  increase.  Even  during  the  Second  Punic  War  capitalist  state  credi- 
tors prescribed  their  own  conditions  to  the  Roman  polity. 

Where  the  ultimate  state  creditors  are  a  mass  stratum  of  state  rentiers 
(bondholders),  such  credits  provide  profit  opportunities  for  bond-issuing 
banks,  as  is  characteristic  of  our  day.  The  interests  of  those  who  supply 
the  materials  of  war  point  in  the  same  direction.  In  all  this,  economic 
forces  interested  in  the  emergence  of  military  conflagrations  per  se,  no 
matter  what  be  the  outcome  for  their  own  community,  are  called  into 

Aristophanes  distinguished  between  industries  interested  in  war  and 
industries  interested  in  peace,  although,  as  is  evident  from  his  enumera- 
tion, the  center  of  gravity  in  his  time  was  still  the  self-equipped  army. 
The  individual  citizen  gave  orders  to  artisans  such  as  the  sword-maker 
and  the  armourer.  But  even  then  the  large  private  commercial  store- 

1 68  POWER 

houses,  often  designated  as  'factories,'  were  above  all  stores  of  armaments. 

Today  the  polity  as  such  is  almost  the  sole  agent  to  order  war  material 
and  the  engines  of  war.  This  enhances  the  capitalist  nature  of  the 
process.  Banks,  which  finance  war  loans,  and  today  large  sections  of 
heavy  industry  are  quand  meme  economically  interested  in  warfare;  the 
direct  suppliers  of  armour  plates  and  guns  are  not  the  only  ones  so 
interested^'A  lost  war,  as  well  as  a  successful  war,  brings  increased  busi- 
ness to  these  banks  and  industries. 

The  partners  within  a  polity  are  politically  and  economically  interested 
in  the  existence  of  large  home  factories  for  war  engines.  This  interest 
compels  them  to  allow  these  factories  to  provide  the  whole  world  with 
their  products,  political  opponents  included. 

The  extent  to  which  the  interests  of  imperialist  capitalism  are  counter- 
balanced depends  above  all  on  the  profitableness  of  imperialism  as  com- 
pared with  the  capitalist  interests  of  pacifist  orientation,  in  so  far  as  purely 
capitalist  motives  here  play  a  direct  part.  And  this  in  turn  is  closely 
connected  with  the  extent  to  which  economic  needs  are  satisfied  by  a 
private  or  a  collective  economy.  The  relation  between  the  two  is  highly 
decisive  for  the  nature  of  expansive  economic  tendencies  backed  up  by 
political  communities. 

In  general  and  at  all  times,  imperialist  capitalism,  especially  colonial 
booty  capitahsm  based  on  direct  force  and  compulsory  labor,  has  offered 
by  far  the  greatest  opportunities  for  profit.  They  have  been  greater  by  far 
than  those  normally  open  to  industrial  enterprises  which  worked  for 
exports  and  which  oriented  themselves  to  peaceful  trade  with  members 
of  other  polities.  Therefore,  imperialist  capitalism  has  always  existed 
wherever  to  any  relevant  degree  the  polity  per  se,  or  its  subdivisions 
(municipalities),  has  engaged  in  a  public  collective  economy  for  satisfying 
demands.  The  stronger  such  collective  economy  has  been,  the  more 
important  imperialist  capitalism  has  been. 

Increasing  opportunities  for  profit  abroad  emerge  again  today,  espe- 
cially in  territories  that  are  'opened  up'  politically  and  economically, 
that  is,  brought  into  the  specifically  modern  forms  of  public  and  private 
'enterprise.'  These  opportunities  spring  from  'public  commissions'  of 
arms;  from  railroad  and  other  construction  tasks  carried  out  by  the 
polity  or  by  builders  endowed  with  monopoly  rights;  from  monopolist 
organizations  for  the  collection  of  levies  for  trade  and  industry;  from 
monopolist  concessions;  and  from  government  loans. 

Such  opportunities  for  profits  may  be  more  important  and  may  be 


gained  at  the  expense  of  profits  from  the  usual  private  trade.  The  more 
that  pubhc,  collective  enterprises  gain  in  economic  importance  as  a  gen- 
eral form  of  supplying  needs,  the  more  this  preponderance  increases.  This 
tendency  is  directly  paralleled  by  the  tendency  of  politically  backed  eco- 
nomic expansion  and  competition  among  individual  polities  whose  part- 
ners control  investment  capital.  They  aim  at  securing  for  themselves 
such  monopolies  and  shares  in  public  commissions.  And  the  importance 
of  the  mere  'open  door'  for  the  private  importation  of  goods  recedes  into 
the  background. 

The  safest  way  of  guaranteeing  these  monopolized  profit  opportunities 
to  the  members  of  one's  own  polity  is  to  occupy  it  or  at  least  to  subject 
the  foreign  political  power  in  the  form  of  a  'protectorate'  or  some  such 
arrangement.  Therefore,  this\  'imperiaUst'  tendency  increasingly  displaces 
the  'pacifist'  tendency  of  expansion;  which  aims  merely  at  'freedom  of 
trade.'  The  latter  gained  the  upper  hand  only  so  long  as  the  organization 
of  supply  by  private  capitalism  shifted  the  optimum  of  capitalist  profit 
opportunities  towards  pacifist  trade  and  not  towards  monopolist  trade, 
or  at  least  trade  not  monopolized  by  political  power. 

The  universal  revival  of  'imperialist'  capitalism,  which  has  always  been 
the  normal  form  in  which  capitalist  interests  have  influenced  poHtics, 
and  the  revival  of  political  drives  for  expansion  are  thus  not  accidental. 
For  the  predictable  future,  the  prognosis  will  have  to  be  made  in  their 

This  situation  would  hardly  change  fundamentally  if  for  a  moment 
we  were  to  make  the  mental  experiment  of  assuming  the  individual  ,  ^ 
polities  to  be  somehow  'state-socialist'  communities,  that  is,  associations 
supplying  a  maximum  amount  of  their  needs  through  a  collective 
economy.  All  political  associations  of  such  a  collective  economy  would 
seek  to  buy  as  cheaply  as  possible  indispensable  goods  not  produced  on 
their  own  territory  (cotton  in  Germany,  for  instance)  from  communities 
that  have  natural  monopolies  which  these  communities  would  seek  to 
exploit.  It  is  probable  that  force  would  be  used  where  it  would  lead 
easily  to  favorable  conditions  of  exchange;  the  weaker  party  would 
thereby  be  obliged  to  pay  tribute,  if  not  formally  then  at  least  actually. 
For  the  rest,  one  cannot  see  why  the  strong  state-socialist  communities 
should  disdain  to  squeeze  tribute  out  of  the  weaker  communities  for 
their  own  partners  where  they  could  do  so,  just  as  happened  everywhere  /Tv 
during  early  history. 

1 70  POWER 

Economically,  in  a  polity  without  state-socialism  the  'mass'  of  partners 
need  be  as  little  interested  in  pacifism  as  is  any  single  stratum. 

The  Attic  demos— and  not  they  alone— lived  economically  ofl  war. 
War  brought  them  soldiers'  pay  and,  in  case  of  victory,  tribute  from  the 
subjects.  This  tribute  was  actually  distributed  among  the  full  citizens  in 
the  hardly  veiled  form  of  attendance-fees  at  popular  assemblies,  court 
hearings,  and  public  festivities.  Here,  every  full  citizen  could  directly 
grasp  the  interest  in  imperialist  policy  and  power.  Nowadays,  the  yields 
flowing  from  abroad  to  the  partners  of  a  polity,  including  those  of  im- 
perialist origin  and  those  actually  representing  'tribute,'  do  not  result  in 
a  constellation  of  interests  so  comprehensible  to  the  masses.  For  under 
the  present  economic  order,  the  tribute  to  'creditor  nations'  assumes  the 
form  of  interest  payments  on  debts  or  of  capital  profits  transferred  from 
abroad  to  the  propertied  strata  of  the  'creditor  nation.'  Were  one  to  think 
these  tributes  cancelled  for  countries  like  England,  France,  and  Germany, 
it  would  mean  a  very  palpable  decline  of  purchasing  power  for  home 
products.  This  would  influence  the  labor  market  of  the  respective  work- 
ers in  an  unfavorable  manner. 

In  spite  of  this,Tabor  in  creditor  nations  is  of  strongly  pacifist  mind 
and  on  the  whole  shows  no  interest  whatsoever  in  the  continuation  and 
compulsory  collection  of  such  tributes  from  foreign  debtor  communities 
that  are  in  arrears.\  Nor  does  labor  show  an  interest  in  forcibly  participat- 
ing in  the  exploitation  of  foreign  colonial  territories  and  in  sharing  public 
commissions.  If  this  is  the  case,  it  is  a  natural  outcome  of  the  immediate 
class  situation,  on  the  one  hand,  and,  on  the  other,  of  the  internal  social 
and  political  situation  of  communities  in  a  capitalist  era.  Those  entitled 
to  tribute  belong  to  the  opponent  class,  who  dominate  the  community. 
Every  successful  imperialist  policy  of  coercing  the  outside  normally — or 
at  least  at  first — also  strengthens  the  domestic  'prestige'  and  therewith 
the  power  and  influence  of  those  classes,  status  groups,  and  parties,  under 
whose  leadership  the  success  has  been  attained. 

In  addition  to  the  sources  determined  by  the  social  and  political  con- 
stellation, there  are  economic  sources  of  pacifist  sympathy  among  the 
masses,  especially  among  the  proletariat.  Every  investment  of  capital  in 
the  production  of  war  engines  and  war  material  creates  job  and  income 
opportunities;  every  administrative  agency  may  become  a  factor  directly 
contributing  to  prosperity  in  a  particular  case  and,  even  more  so,  indirectly 
contributing  to  prosperity  by  increasing  demand  and  fostering  the  inten- 
sity of  business  enterprise.  This  may  become  a  source  of  enhanced  confi- 


dence  in  the  economic  opportunities  of  the  participating  industries,  which 
may  lead  to  a  speculative  boom. 

The  administration,  however,  withdraws  capital  from  alternate  uses 
and  makes  it  more  difficult  to  satisfy  demands  in  other  fields.  Above  all, 
the  means  of  war  are  raised  by  way  of  levies,  which  the  ruling  strata,  by 
virtue  of  their  social  and  political  power,  usually  know  how  to  transfer 
to  the  masses,  quite  apart  from  the  limits  set  to  the  regimentation  of 
property  for  'mercantilist'  considerations. 

Countries  little  burdened  by  military  expenses  (the  United  States)  and 
especially  the  small  countries  (Switzerland,  for  example)  often  experience 
a  stronger  economic  expansion  than  do  other  Powers.  Moreover,  occa- 
sionally small  countries  are  more  readily  admitted  to  the  economic  exploi- 
tation of  foreign  countries  because  they  do  not  arouse  the  fear  that  po- 
litical intervention  might  follow  economic  intrusion. 

Experience  shows  that  the  pacifet  interests  of  petty  bourgeois  and  pro- 
letarian strata  very  often  and  very  easily  fail.  This  is  partly  because  of 
the  easier  accessibility  of  all  unorganized  'masses'  to  emotional  influences 
and  partly  because  of  the  indefinite  notion  (which  they  entertain)  of 
some  unexpected  opportunity  somehow  arising  through  war.  Specific 
interests,  like  the  hope  entertained  in  overpopulated  countries  of  acquir- 
ing territories  for  emigration,  are,  of  course,  also  important  in  this  con- 
nection. Another  contributing  cause  is  the  fact  that  the  'masses,'  in  con- 
trast to  other  interest-groups,  subjectively  risk  a  smaller  stake  in  the  game. 
In  case  of  a  lost  war,  the  'monarch'  has  to  fear  for  his  throne,  republican 
power-holders  and  groups  having  vested  interests  in  a  'republican  consti- 
tution' have  to  fear  the  victorious  'general.'  The  majority  of  the  proper- 
tied bourgeoisie  have  to  fear  economic  loss  from  the  brakes'  being  placed 
upon  'business  as  usual.'  Under  certain  circumstances,  should  disorganiza- 
tion follow  defeat,  the  ruling  stratum  of  notables  has  to  fear  a  violent 
shift  in  power  in  favor  of  the  propertyless.  The  'masses'  as  such,  at  least 
in  their,  subjective  conception  and  in  the  extreme  case,  have  nothing 
concrete  to  lose  but  their  lives.  The  valuation  and  effect  of  this  danger 
strongly  fluctuates  in  their  own  minds.  On  the  whole,  it  can  easily  be 
reduced  to  zero  through  emotional  influence. 

3:  The  Nation 

'  The  fervor  cf  this  emotional  influence  does  not,  in  the  main,  have 
an  economic  origin.  It  is  based  upon  sentiments  of  prestige,  which  often 


172  POWER 

extend  deep  down  to  the  petty  bourgeois  masses  of  political  structures 
rich  in  the  historical  attainment  of  power-positions.  The  attachment  to 
all  this  poHtical  prestige  may  fuse  with  a  specific  belief  in  responsibilty 
towards  succeeding  generations.  The  great  power  structures  per  se  are 
then  held  to  have  a  responsibility  of  their  own  for  the  way  in  which 
power  and  prestige  are  distributed  between  their  own  and  foreign  polities. 
It  goes  without  saying  that  all  those  groups  who  hold  the  power  to 
steer  common  conduct  within  a  polity  will  most  strongly  instill  them- 
selves with  this  ideal  fervor  of  power  prestige.  They  remain  the  specific 
and  most  reliable  bearers  of  the  idea  of  the  state  as  an  imperialist  power 
structure  demanding  unqualified  devotion. 

/  In  addition  to  the  direct  and  material  imperialist  interests,  discussed 
above,  there  are  partly  indirect  and  material  and  partly  ideological  in- 
terests of  strata  that  are  in  various  ways  intellectually  privileged  within 
a  polity  and,  indeed,  privileged  by  its  very  existence.'  They  comprise 
especially  all  those  who  think  of  themselves  as  being  the  specific  'partners' 
of  a  specific  'culture'  diflfused  among  the  members  of  the  polity.  Under 
the  influence  of  these  circles,  the  naked  prestige  of  power'  is  unavoidably 
transformed  into  other  special  fo:  ms  of  prestige  and  especially  into  the 
idea  of  the  'nation.' 

If  the  concept  of  'nation'  can  in  any  way  be  defined  unambiguously,  it 
certainly  cannot  be  stated  in  terms  of  empirical  qualities  common  to  those 
who  count  as  members  of  the  nation.  In  the  sense  of  those  using  the  term 
at  a  given  time,  the  concept  undoubtedly  means,  above  all,  that  one  may 
exact  from  certain  groups  of  men  a  specific  sentiment  of  solidarity  in  the 
face  of  other  groups.  Thus,  the  concept  belongs  in  the  sphere  of  values. 
Yet,  there  is  no  agreement  on  how  these  groups  should  be  delimited  or 
about  what  concerted  action  should  result  from  such  solidarity. 

In  ordinary  language,  'nation'  is,  first  of  all,  not  identical  with  the 
'people  of  a  state,'  that  is,  with  the  membership  of  a  given  polity.  Numer- 
ous polities  comprise  groups  among  whom  the  independence  of  their 
'nation'  is  emphatically  asserted  in  the  face  of  the  other  groups;  or,  on 
the  other  hand,  they  comprise  parts  of  a  group  whose  members  declare 
this  group  to  be  one  homogeneous  'nation'  (Austria  before  1918,  for  ex- 
ample). Furthermore,  a  'nation'  is  not  identical  with  a  community  speak- 
ing the  same  language;  that  this  by  no  means  always  suliices  is  indicated 
by  the  Serbs  and  Croats,  the  North  Americans,  the  Irish,  and  the  English. 
On  the  contrary,  a  common  language  does  not  seem  to  be  absolutely 


necessary  to  a  'nation.'  In  official  documents,  besides  'Swiss  People'  one 
also  finds  the  phrase  'Swiss  Nation.'  And  some  language  groups  do  not 
think  of  themselves  as  a  separate  'nation,'  for  example,  at  least  until  re- 
cently, the  white  Russians.  The  pretension,  however,  to  be  considered  a 
special  'nation'  is  regularly  associated  with  a  common  language  as  a  cul- 
ture value  of  the  masses;  this  is  predominantly  the  case  in  the  classic 
country  of  language  conflicts,  Austria,  and  equally  so  in  Russia  and  in 
eastern  Prussia.  But  this  linkage  of  the  common  language  and  'nation'  is 
of  varying  intensity;  for  instance,  it  is  very  low  in  the  United  States'. as 
well  as  in  Canada. 

.  'National'  solidarity  among  men  speaking  the  same  language  may  be 
just  as  well  rejected  as  accepted.  Solidarity,  instead,  may  be  linked 
with  differences  in  the  other  great  'culture  value  of  the  masses,'  namely, 
a  religious  creed,  as  is  the  case  with  the  Serbs  and  Croats.  National 
solidarity  may  be  connected  with  differing  social  structure  and  mores 
and  hence  with  'ethnic'  elements,  as  is  the  case  with  the  German  Swiss 
and  the  Alsatians  in  the  face  of  the  Germans  of  the  Reich,  or  with  the 
Irish  facing  the  British.  Yet  above  all,  national  solidarity  may  be  linked 
to  memories  of  a  common  political  destiny  with  other  nations,  among 
the  Alsatians  with  the  French  since  the  revolutionary  war  which  repre- 
sents their  common  heroic  age,  just  as  among  the  Baltic  Barons  with  the 
Russians  whose  political  destiny  they  helped  to  steer.  ^' 

It  goes  without  saying  that  'national'  affiliation  need  not  be  based  upon 
common  blood.  Indeed,  everywhere  the  especially  radical  'nationalists' 
are  often  of  foreign  descent.  Furthermore,  although  a  specific  common 
anthropological  type  is  not  irrelevant  to  nationality,  it  is  neither  sufficient 
nor  a  prerequisite  to  found  a  nation.  Nevertheless,  the  idea  of  the  'na- 
tion' is  apt  to  include  the  notions  of  common  descent  and  of  an  essen-  [  /r -. 
tial,  though  frequently  indefinite,  homogeneity.  The  nation  has  these  no- 
tions in  common  with  the  sentiment  of  solidarity  of  ethnic  communities, 
which  is  also  nourished  from  various  sources.  But  the  sentiment  of  ethnic 
solidarity  does  not  by  itself  make  a  'nation.'  Undoubtedly,  even  the  white 
Russians  in  the  face  of  the  Great  Russians  have  always  had  a  sentiment  of 
ethnic  solidarity,  yet  even  at  the  present  time  they  would  hardly  claim 
to  qualify  as  a  separate  'nation.'  The  Poles  of  Upper  Silesia,  until  re- 
cently, had  hardly  any  feeling  of  solidarity  with  the  'Polish  Nation.'  They 
felt  themselves  to  be  a  separate  ethnic  group  in  the  face  of  the  Germans, 
but  for  the  rest  they  were  Prussian  subjects  and  nothing  else. 

Whether  the  Jews  may  be  called  a  'nation'  is  an  old  problem.  The  mass 


174  POWER 

o£  the  Russian  Jews,  the  assimilating  West-European-American  Jews,  the 
Zionists — these  would  in  the  main  give  a  negative  answer.  In  any  case, 
their  answers  would  vary  in  nature  and  extent.  In  particular,  the  ques- 
tion would  be  answered  very  differently  by  the  peoples  of  their  environ- 
ment, for  example,  by  the  Russians  on  the  one  side  and  by  the  Americans 
on  the  other — or  at  least  by  those  Americans  who  at  the  present  time  still 
maintain  American  and  Jewish  nature  to  be  essentially  similar,  as  an 
American  President  has  asserted  in  an  official  document. 

Those  German-speaking  Alsatians  who  refuse  to  belong  to  the  German 
'nation'  and  who  cultivate  the  memory  of  political  union  with  France  do 
not  thereby  consider  themselves  simply  as  members  of  the  French  'na- 
tion.' The  Negroes  of  the  United  States,  at  least  at  present,  consider 
themselves  members  of  the  American  'nation,'  but  they  will  hardly  ever 
be  so  considered  by  the  Southern  Whites. 

Only  fifteen  years  ago,  men  knowing  the  Far  East,  still  denied  that 
the  Chinese  qualified  as  a  'nation';  they  held  them  to  be  only  a  'race.'  Yet 
today,  not  only  the  Chinese  political  leaders  but  also  the  very  same  ob- 
servers would  judge  differently. 'Thus  it  seems  that  a  group  of  people 
J  under  certain  conditions  may  attain  the  quality  of  a  nation  through 
'^'.  specific  behavior,  or  they  may  claim  this  quality  as  an  'attainment' — and 
i  within  short  spans  of  time  at  that. 

There  are,  on  the  other  hand,  social  groups  that  profess  indifference  to, 
and  even  directly  relinquish,  any  evaluational  adherence  to  a  single  na- 
tion. At  the  present  time,  certain  leading  strata  of  the  class  movement  of 
the  modern  proletariat  consider  such  indifference  and  relinquishment  to 
be  an  accomplishment.  Their  argument  meets  with  varying  success,  de- 
pending upon  political  and  linguistic  affiliations  and  also  upon  different 
strata  of  the  proletariat;  on  the  whole,  their  success  is  rather  diminishing 
at  the  present  time. 

An  unbroken  scale  of  quite  varied  and  highly  changeable  attitudes  to- 
ward the  idea  of  the  'nation'  is  to  be  found  among  social  strata  and  also 
within  single  groups  to  whom  language  usage  ascribes  the  quality  of 
'nations.'  The  scale  extends  from  emphatic  affirmation  to  emphatic  nega- 
tion and  finally  complete  indifference,  as  may  be  characteristic  of  the 
citizens  of  Luxembourg  and  of  nationally  'unawakened'  peoples.  Feudal 
strata,  strata  of  officials,  entrepreneurial  bourgeois  strata  of  various  cate- 
gories, strata  of  'intellectuals'  do  not  have  homogeneous  or  historically 
constant  attitudes  towards  the  idea. 

The  reasons  for  the  belief  that  one  represents  a  nation  vary  greatly, 


just  as  does  the  empirical  conduct  that  actually  results  from  affiliation  or 
lack  of  it  with  a  nation.  The  'national  sentiments'  of  the  German,  the 
Englishman,  the  North  American,  the  Spaniard,  the  Frenchman,  or  the 
Russian  do  not  function  in  an  identical  manner.  Thus,  to  take  only  the 
simplest  illustration,  national  sentiment  is  variously  related  to  political 
associations,  and  the  'idea'  of  the  nation  may  become  antagonistic  to  the 
empirical  scope  of  given  poUtical  associations.  This  antagonism  may  lead 
to  quite  different  results. 

Certainly  the  Italians  in  the  Austrian  state-association  would  fight 
Italian  troops  only  if  coerced  into  doing  so.  Large  portions  of  the  Ger- 
man Austrians  would  today  fight  against  Germany  only  with  the  great- 
est reluctance;  they  could  not  be  relied  upon.  The  German  Americans, 
however,  even  those  valuing  their  'nationality'  most  highly,  would  fight 
against  Germany,  not  gladly,  yet,  given  the  occasion,  unconditionally. 
The  Poles  in  the  German  State  would  fight  readily  against  a  Russian 
Polish  army  but  hardly  against  an  autonomous  Polish  army.  The  Austrian 
Serbs  would  fight  against  Serbia  with  very  mixed  feelings  and  only  in 
the  hope  of  attaining  common  autonomy.  The  Russian  Poles  would  fight 
more  reliably  against  a  German  than  against  an  Austrian  army. 
V  It  is  a  well-known  historical  fact  that  within  the  same  nation  the  in- 
tensity of  solidarity  felt  toward  the  outside  is  changeable  and  varies 
greatly  in  strengths  On  the  whole,  this  sentiment  has  grown  even  where 
internal  conflicts  of  interest  have  not  diminished.  Only  sixty  years  ago 
the  Kreuzzeitung^  still  appealed  to  the  intervention  of  the  emperor  of 
Russia  in  internal  German  affairs;  today,  in  spite  of  increased  class 
antagonism,  this  would  be  difficult  to  imagine. 

In  any  case,  the  differences  in  national  sentiment  are  both  significant 
and  fluid  and,  as  is  the  case  in  all  other  fields,  fundamentally  different 
answers  are  given  to  the  question:  What  conclusions  are  a  group  of 
people  willing  to  draw  from  the  'national  sentiment'  found  among  them  } 
No  matter  how  emphatic  and  subjectively  sincere  a  pathos  may  be  formed 
among  them,  what  sort  of  specific  joint  action  are  they  ready  to  develop.'' 
The  extent  to  which  in  the  diaspora  a  convention  is  adhered  to  as  a 
'national'  trait  varies  just  as  much  as  does  the  importance  of  common 
conventions  for  the  belief  in  the  existence  of  a  separate  'nation.'  In  the 
face  of  these  value  concepts  of  the  'idea  of  the  nation,'  which  empirically 
are  entirely  ambiguous,  a  sociological  typology  would  have  to  analyze  all 
sorts  of  community  sentiments  of  solidarity  in  their  genetic  conditions 

176  POWER 

and  in  their  consequences  for  the  concerted  action  of  the  participants. 
This  cannot  here  be  attempted. 
Instead,  we  shall  have  to  look  a  little  closer  into  the  fact  that  the 
.^dea  of  the  nation  for  its  advocates  stands  in  very  intimate  relation  to 
'prestige'  interests.  The  earliest  and  most  energetic  manifestations  of  the 
idea,  in  some  form,  even  though  it  may  have  been  veiled,  have  contained 
the  legend  of  a  providential  'mission.'  Those  to  whom  the  representatives 
of  the  idea  zealously  turned  were  expected  to  shoulder  this  mission.  An- 
other element  of  the  early  idea  was  the  notion  that  this  mission  was 
facilitated  solely  through  the  very  cultivation  of  the  peculiarity  of  the 
group  set  off  as  a  nation.  Therewith,  in  so  far  as  its  self-justification  is 
sought  in  the  value  of  its  content,  this  mission  can  consistently  be 
thought  of  only  as  a  specific  'culture'  mission.  The  significance  of  the 
'nation'  is  usually  anchored  in  the  superiority,  or  at  least  the  irreplaceabil- 
ity,  of  the  culture  values  that  are  to  be  preserved  and  developed  only 
through  the  cultivation  of  the  peculiarity  of  the  group.  It  therefore  goes 
without  saying  that  the  intellectuals,  as  we  have  in  a  preliminary  fashion 
called  them,  are  to  a  specific  degree  predestined  to  propagate  the  'national 
idea,'  just  as  those  who  wield  power  in  the  polity  provoke  the  idea  of 
the  state. 

By  'intellectuals'  we  understand  a  group  of  men  who  by  virtue  of  their 
peculiarity  have  special  access  to  certain  achievements  considered  to  be 
'culture  values,'  and  who  therefore  usurp  the  leadership  of  a  'culture 

community.'  ^ 

*        *        # 

In  so  far  as  there  is  at  all  a  common  object  lying  behind  the  obviously 
ambiguous  term  'nation,'  it  is  apparently  located  in  the  field  of  politics.) 
One  might  well  define  the  concept  of  nation  in  the  following  way:  a 
nation  is  a  community  of  sentiment  which  would  adequately  manifest 
itself  in  a  state  of  its  own;  hence,  a  nation  is  a  community  which 
normally  tends  to  produce  a  state  of  its  own. 

The  causal  components  that  lead  to  the  emergence  of  a  national 
sentiment  in  this  sense  may  vary  greatly.  If  we  for  once  disregard  re- 
ligious belief— which  has  not  yet  played  its  last  role  in  this  matter,  espe- 
cially among  Serbs  and  Croats— then  common  purely  political  destinies 
have  first  to  be  considered.  Under  certain  conditions,  otherwise  hetero- 
geneous peoples  can  be  melted  together  through  common  destinies.  The 
reason  for  the  Alsatians'  not  feeling  themselves  as  belonging  to  the 
German   nation   has  to  be   sought   in   their   memories.   Their   political 


destiny  has  taken  its  course  outside  the  German  sphere  for  too  long; 
their  heroes  are  the  heroes  of  French  history.  If  the  custodian  of  the 
Kolmar  museum  wants  to  show  you  which  among  his  treasures  he  cher- 
ishes most,  he  takes  you  away  from  Griinewald's  altar  to  a  room  filled 
with  tricolors,  pompier,  and  other  helmets  and  souvenirs  of  a  seemingly 
most  insignificant  nature;  they  are  from  a  time  that  to  him  is  a  heroic 

An  existing  state  organization  whose  heroic  age  is  not  felt  as  such 
by  the  masses  can  nevertheless  be  decisive  for  a  powerful  sentiment  of 
solidarity,  in  spite  of  the  greatest  internal  antagonisms.  The  state  is 
valued  as  the  agency  that  guarantees  security,  and  this  is  above  all  the 
case  in  times  of  external  danger,  when  sentiments  of  national  solidarity 
flare  up,  at  least  intermittently.  Thus  we  have  seen  how  the  elements 
of  the  Austrian  state,  which  apparently  strove  to  separate  without  re- 
gard for  consequences,  united  during  the  so-called  Nibelung  danger." 
It  was  not  only  the  officials  and  officers,  who  were  interested  in  the  state 
as  such,  who  could  be  relied  upon,  but  also  the  masses  of  the  army. 

The  conditions  of  a  further  component,  namely,  the  influence  of  race, 
is  especially  complex.  Here  we  had  better  disregard  entirely  the  mystic 
effects  of  a  community  of  blood,  in  the  sense  in  which  the  racial  fanati- 
cists  use  the  phrase.  The  differences  among  anthropological  types  are 
but  one  factor  of  closure,  social  attraction,  and  repulsion.  They  stand 
with  equal  right  beside  differences  acquired  through  tradition.  There 
are  characteristic  differences  in  these  matters.  Every  Yankee  accepts  the 
civilized  quarter-breed  or  octoroon  Indian  as  a  member  of  the  nation;  he 
may  himself  claim  to  have  Indian  blood.  But  he  behaves  quite  differently 
toward  the  Negro,  and  he  does  so  especially  when  the  Negro  adopts 
the  same  way  of  life  as  he  and  therewith  develops  the  same  social  aspira- 
tions. How  can  we  explain  this  fact.'' 

Aesthetic  aversions  may  come  into  play.  The  'odor  of  Negroes,'  how- 
ever, of  which  so  many  fables  are  told,  is,  according  to  my  experience, 
not  to  be  discovered.  Black  wet-nurses,  black  coachmen  riding  shoulder 
to  shoulder  with  the  lady  steering  the  cabriolet,  and  above  all,  several 
million  mixed  bloods  are  all  too  clear  proof  against  the  allegedly  natural 
repulsion  between  these  races.  This  aversion  is  social  in  nature,  and  I 
have  heard  but  one  plausible  explanation  for  it:  the  Negroes  have  been 
slaves;  the  Indians  have  not. 

Of  those  cultural  elements  that  represent  the  most  important  positive 
basis  for  the  formation  of  national  sentiment  everywhere,  a  common 


language  takes  first  place.  But  even  a  common  language  is  not  entirely 
indispensable  nor  sufficient  by  itself.  One  may  state  that  there  was  a 
specific  Swiss  national  sentiment  in  spite  of  the  lack  of  common  lan- 
guage; and,  in  spite  of  a  common  language,  the  Irish  have  no  common 
national  sentiment  with  the  British.  The  importance  of  language  is  neces- 
sarily increasing  along  with  the  democratization  of  state,  society,  and 
culture.  For  the  masses  a  common  language  plays  a  more  decisive  eco- 
nomic part  than  it  does  for  the  propertied  strata  of  feudal  or  bourgeois 
stamp.  For  these  latter,  at  least  in  the  language  areas  of  an  identical  cul- 
ture, usually  speak  the  foreign  language,  whereas  the  petty  bourgeois 
and  the  proletarian  in  a  foreign  language  area  are  much  more  dependent 
upon  cohesion  with  those  speaking  the  same  language.  Above  all,  the 
language,  and  that  means  the  literature  based  upon  it,  is  the  first  and 
for  the  time  being  the  only  cultural  value  at  all  accessible  to  the  masses 
who  ascend  toward  participation  in  culture.  The  enjoyment  of  art  re- 
quires a  far  greater  degree  of  education,  and  art  has  a  far  more  aristo- 
cratic nature  than  has  literature.  This  is  precisely  the  case  in  literature's 
greatest  achievements.  It  is  for  this  reason  that  the  notion  held  in  Austria 
that  democratization  must  soften  the  language  conflicts  was  so  Utopian. 
The  facts  have,  in  the  meanwhile,  thoroughly  disproved  such  notions. 
Common  cultural  values  can  provide  a  unifying  national  bond.  But  for 
this  the  objective  quality  of  the  cultural  values  does  not  matter  at  all,  and 
therefore  one  must  not  conceive  of  the  'nation'  as  a  'culture  community.' 
\  Newspapers,  which  certainly  do  not  assemble  what  is  most  sublime  in 
literary  culture,  cement  the  masses  most  strongly.j  Concerning  the  actual 
social  conditions  that  make  for  the  rise  of  a  unified  literary  language 
and  for  a  literature  in  the  vernacular,  which  is  something  else,  all  re- 
search is  now  only  in  its  beginnings.  For  the  case  of  France,  one  may 
refer  to  the  essays  of  my  esteemed  friend  Vossler. 

I  should  like  to  point  to  only  one  typical  supporter  of  this  development, 
because  it  is  one  seldom  recognized  as  such,  namely,  women.  They  con- 
tributed specifically  to  the  formation  of  national  sentiment  linked  to 
language.  An  erotic  lyric  addressed  to  a  woman  can  hardly  be  written 
in  a  foreign  language,  because  then  it  would  be  unintelligible  to  the  ad- 
dressee. The  courtly  and  chivalrous  lyric  was  neither  singular,  nor  always 
the  first  literature  to  displace  Latin  by  the  national  language,  as  happened 
in  France,  Italy,  Germany,  or  to  displace  Chinese,  as  happened  in  Japan. 
Nevertheless,  the  courtly  lyric  has  frequently  and  permanently  done  so, 
and  has  subHmated  national  languages  into  literary  languages.  I  cannot 


here  describe  how  after  this  initial  displacement  the  importance  of  the 
vernacular  steadily  progressed  under  the  influence  of  the  broadening 
administrative  tasks  of  state  and  church,  hence  as  the  language  of  ad- 
ministration and  of  the  sermon.  I  may,  however,  add  one  more  word 
about  the  economic  determination  of  modern  language  conflicts. 

Today  quite  considerable  pecuniary  and  capitalist  interests  are 
anchored  in  the  maintenance  and  cultivation  of  the  popular  language: 
the  interests  of  the  publishers,  editors,  authors,  and  the  contributors  to 
books  and  periodicals  and,  above  all,  to  newspapers.  Once  Polish  and 
Latvian  newspapers  existed,  the  language  fight  conducted  by  govern- 
ments or  ruling  strata  of  another  language  community  had  become  as 
good  as  hopeless,  for  reasons  of  state  are  powerless  against  these  forces. 
And  to  the  interests  in  profits  of  the  capitalist  another  material  interest 
of  great  weight  has  to  be  added:  the  bilingual  candidates  in  competing 
for  office  throw  their  bilingualism  into  the  balance  and  seek  to  lay  claim 
upon  as  large  an  area  of  patronage  as  possible.  This  occurred  among 
the  Czechs  in  Austria  with  their  surplus  of  intellectual  proletariat  bred 
en  masse.  The  tendency  as  such  is  old. 

The  conciliar,  and  at  the  same  time  nationalist,  reaction  against  the 
universalism  of  the  papacy  in  the  waning  Middle  Ages  had  its  origin, 
to  a  great  extent,  in  the  interests  of  the  intellectuals  who  wished  to  see 
the  prebends  of  their  own  country  reserved  for  themselves  and  not  occu- 
pied by  strangers  via  Rome.  After  all,  the  name  natio  as  a  legal  concept 
for  an  organized  community  is  found  first  at  the  universities  and  at  the 
reform  councils  of  the  church.  At  that  time,  however,  the  linkage  to  the 
national  language  per  se  was  lacking;  this  linkage,  for  the  reasons  stated, 
is  specifically  modern. 

If  one  believes  that  it  is  at  all  expedient  to  distinguish  national  senti- 
ment as  something  homogeneous  and  specifically  set  apart,  one  can  do 
so  only  by  referring  to  a  tendency  toward  an  autonomous  state.  And  one 
must  be  clearly  aware  of  the  fact  that  «entiments  of  solidarity,  very 
heterogeneous  in  both  their  nature  and  their  origin,  are  comprised  within 
national  sentiments. 

V  II.   Class,  otatus,  x  arty^ 

i:  Economically  Determined  Power  and  the  Social  Order 

Law  exists  when  there  is  a  probabiHty  that  an  order  will  be  upheld  by  a 
specific  staff  of  men  who  will  use  physical  or  psychical  compulsion  with 
the  intention  of  obtaining  conformity  with  the  order,  or  of  inflicting 
sanctions  for  infringement  of  it.^  The  structure  of  every  legal  order  di- 
rprflT,rinfliipnrf^  '^hp  divt  rilvnlnn  nf  ppw^'-j  economic  or  Otherwise,  within 
its  respective  community.  This  is  true  of  all  legal  orders  and  not  only 
that  of  the  state.  In  general,  we  understand  by  'power*  the  chance  of  a 
man  or  of  a  number  ofjueiL-to  realize  their  own  will  in  a  communal 
action  even_agaigsL-tl*e-^esisI;ance_of  others  who  are  participating  in  the 

'Economically  conditioned'  power  is  not,  of  course,  identical  with 
'power'  as  such.  On  the  contrary,  the  emergence  of  economic  power  may 
be  the  consequence  of  power  existing  on  other  grounds.  Man  does  not 
strive  for  power  only  in  order  to  enrich  himself  economically.  Power, 
including  economic  power,  may  be  valued  'for  its  own  sake.'  Very  fre- 
quently the  striving  for  power  is  also  conditioned  by  the  social  'honor' 
it  entails.  Not  all  power,  however,  entails  social  honor :  The  typical  Amer- 
ican Boss,  as  well  as  the  typical  big  speculator,  deliberately  relinquishes 
social  honor.  Quite  generally,  'mere  economic'  power,  and  especially 
'naked'  money  power,  is  by  no  means  a  recognized  basis  of  social 
honor.  Nor  is  power  the  only  basis  of  social  honor.  Indeed,  social  honor, 
or  prestige,  may  even  be  the  basis  of  political  or  economic  power,  and 
very  frequently  has  been.  Power,  as  well  as  honor,  may  be  guaranteed  by 
the  legal  order,  but,  at  least  normally,  it  is  not  their  primary  source.  The 

*Wirtschnjt  and  Gesellschaft,  part  iii,  chap.  4,  pp.  631-40.  The  first  sentence  in  para- 
graph one  and  the  several  definitions  in  this  chapter  which  are  in  brackets  do  not  appear 
in  the  original  text.  They  have  been  taken  from  other  contexts  of  Wirtschajt  und  Gesell- 



fegal  order  is  rather  an  additional  factor jhatj£jaliaiices^the_chance  to  hold 
pnwer_or  honor;  but  it  cannot  always  secure  thernJ__ 

The  way  in  whicK  social  honor  is  distributed  in  a  community  between 
typical  groij0~particij3ating  intHis'llTsrribution^'weTnay^afrthe^^S&ci^ 
order.'  The  social  order  and  the  economic  order  are,  of  course,  similarly 
related  to  the  'legal  order.'  However,  the  social  and  the  economic  order 

I  are  not  identical.  The  economic  order  is  for  us  fnerely  the  way  In  which 
econorflic^goods  and  services  are  distributed  and  used.  The  social  order  is 
of  course  conditioned  by  the  economic  order  to  a  high  degree,  and  in  its 

'    turn  reacts  upon  it. 

'       Now:  'classes,'  'status  ffloups,'  and  'parties'  are  phenomenaof  the  dis- 

[   tribution  of  power  within  a  community. 

2;  Determination  of  Class-Situation  by  Market-Situation 

In  our  terminology,  'classes'  are  not  communities;  they  merely  repre- 
sent possible,  and  frequent,  bases  for  communal  action.  We  may  speak 
of  a 'classlwhen  (i)  o-iiumber  of  people  JiavLejn  common_a^specific causal 
component  of  their  life  chances,  in  so  far  as  (2)  this  component_is_r£pre- 
sented  exclusively  by  economic  interests  in  the  possession  of^opds  _and 
opportunities  for  income,  andr^3}  is  represented  ulider  the  conditions  of 
the_£ommodity  or  labor  markets.  [These  points  refer  to  'class  situation,' 
which  we~may~express  more  briefly  as  the^tygkaj^  chance  fQLJ-.-JlJ'PP^y 
oi_gpodSj  external  living  conditions.  and_gersonal  lif^  fyppripHrpy,  m-  so 
far  as  this  chance  is  determined  by  the  amount  and  kind  oJ^oweTjOr 
lack  of  sucb^tQjdispose  of  goods  or  skills  for  the  jake  of  jncome  in  a  given 
€concuiiic_iu:der-.  The  term  'class'  refers  to  any  group  of  people  that  is^ 
found  in  the  same  class  situation.] 

It  is  the  most  elemental  economic  fact  that  the  way  in  which  the  dis- 
position over  material  property  is  distributed  among  a  plurality  of  people, 
meeting  competitively  in  the  market  for  the  purpose  of  exchange,  in  itself 
creates  specific  life  chances.  According  to  the  law  of  marginal  utility  this 
mode  o£  distribution  excludes  the  non-a\vners  from  competing  for  highly 
valued  goods;  it  favors  the  owners  and,  in  fact,  gives  to  them  a  monopoly 
to  acquire  such  goods.  Other  things  being  equal,  this  mode  of  distribu- 
tion monopolizes  the  opportunities  for  profitable  deals  for  all  those  who, 
provided  with  goods,  do  not  necessarily  have  to  exchange  them.  It  in- 
creases, at  least  generally,  their  power  in  price  wars  with  those  who,  being 
propertyless,  have  nothing  to  offer  but  their  services  in  native  form  or 


1 82 



goods  in  a  form  constituted  through  their  own  labor,  and  who  above  all 
are  compelled  to  get  rid  of  these  products  in  order  barely  to  subsist. 
This  mode  of  distribution  gives  to  the_  propertied  a  monopoly  on  ^he 
*^6sslbility'31ra^fonng  propert}^Jrom  the  sphere  of  use  as  a  'fortune,' 
-roTKejpKere^f  'capital  goods';  that  is,  it  gives  them  the  entrepreneurial 
iunction  and  all  chances  to  share  direcdy  or  indirectlyjn_returns  on  capi- 
talTAirtliis  holds  true  within  the  area  in  which  pure  market  condition? 
fcfprevail.- 'Property'  and  'lack  of  property'  are,  therefore,  the  basic  cate- 
~  m  gories  of  all  class  situations!  iFdoes  not  matter  whether  these  two  cate- 
gories become  effective  in  price  wars  or  in  competitive  struggles. 

Within  these  categories,  hov(^ever^__dass  situations  are  further  difiFer- 
enriated:^on_the_one  handT  according  to  the  kind  of  property  that  is  us- 
aEle^for  returns;  and,  on  the  other  hand,  according  to  the  kind  of  services 
tHaTcan  beoffered  in  the  market.  Ownership  of  domestic  buildings;  pro- 
ductiVe- ciLabhAhinuiLl>;  "wafehouses;  stores;  agriculturally  usable  land, 
large  and  small  holdings — quantitative  differences  with  possibly  qualita- 
tive consequences — ;  ownership  of  mines;  cattle;  men  (slaves);  disposi- 
tion over  mobile  instruments  of  production,  or  capital  goods  of  all  sorts, 
especially  money  or  objects  that  can  be  exchanged  for  money  easily  and 
at  any  time;  disposition  over  products  of  one's  own  labor  or  of  others' 
labor  differing  according  to  their  various  distances  from  consumability; 
disposition  over  transferable  monopolies  of  any  kind — all  these  distinc- 
tions differentiate  the  class  situations  of  the  propertied  just  as  does^he 
'meaning^  which  [hey  can  and  do  give  to  the~  utihzation  ^f~property, 
especiall}r~to  property  which  has  moliey  equivalence.  Accordingly,  the 
^propertied,  for  instance,  may  belong  to  the  class  of  rentiers  or  to  the 
class  of  entrepreneurs. 

Those  who  have  no  property  but  who  of^er  services  are_differentiat^d^_ 
just  as  mucti  accordmg  to  their  kinds  of  services  as  according  to  the  way 
in  which  they  make  use  of  these  services,  in  a  continuous  or  discontinu- 
ous relation  to  a  recipient.  But  always  this  is  the  generic  connotation  of 
the  concept  of  class:  that  the  kind  of  chance  in  the  marf^et  is  the  decisive 
moment  which  presents  a  common  condition  for  the  individual's  fate. 
'Class  situation'  is.  m_this  sense,  ultimately  'market  situation.'  The  effect 
of  naked  possession  per  j-e,  which  among  cattle~br'eeders  gives  the  non- 
owmrig  slave^oFlefrihto  the  power  of  the  cattle  owner,  is  only  a  fore- 
runner of  real  'class'  formation.  However,  in  the  cattle  loan  and  in  the 
naked  severity  of  the  law  of  debts  in  such  communities,  for  the  first  time 
mere^ossession'  as  such  emerges  as  decisive  for  the  fate  of  the  indi- 


vidual.  This  is  very  much  in  contrast  to  the  agricultural  communities 
based  on  labor.  The  creditor-debtor  relation  becomes  the  basis  of  'class 
situations'  only  in  those  cities  where  a  'credit  market,'  however  primi- 
tive, with  rates  of  interest  increasing  according  to  the  extent  of  dearth 
and  a  factual  monopolization  of  credits,  is  developed  by  a  plutocracy. 
Therewith  'class  struggles'  begin. 

Those  men  whose  fate  is  not  determined  by  the  chance  of  using  goods 
or  services  for  themselves  on  the  market,  e.g.  slaves,  are  not,  however,  a 
'class'  in  the  technical  sense  of  the  term.  They  are,  rather,  a  'status  group.' 

\/     3:  Communal  Action  Flowing  from  Class  Interest 

According  to  our  terminology,  the  factor  that  creates  'class'  is  unam- 
biguously  economic  interest,  and  indeed,  only  those  interests  involved 
irrtTie~existence  of  the  'market.'  Nevertheless,  the  concept  of  'class-interest' 

is  an  ambiguous  one:  even  as  an  empirical  concept  it  is  ambiguous  as 
soon  as  one  urid^e'rstands  by  it  something  other  than  the  factual  direction 
of  interests  following  with  a  certain  probability  from  the  class  situation 
for  a  certain  'average'  of  those  people  subjected  to  the  class  situation.  The 
class  situation  and  other  circumstances  remaining  the  same,  the  direction 
in  which  the  individual  worker,  for  instance,  is  likely  to  pursue  his  in- 
terests may  vary  widely,  according  to  whether  he  is  constitutionally  quali- 
fied for  the  task  at  hand  to  a  high,  to  an  average,  or  to  a  low  degree. 
In  the  same  way,  the  direction  of  interests  may  vary  according  to 
whether  or  not  a  communal  action  of  a  larger  or  smaller  portion  of  those 
.  comm©nly-a£fe£ted  by  the  'class  sittrationr-or-even-^n  association  among 
them,  e.g.  a  'trade  union,'  has  grown  out  of  the  class  situation  from  which 
the  individual  may  or  may  not  expect  promising  results.  [Communal 
action  jefers  to  that  action  which  is  oriented  to  the  feeling  of  the  actors 
that  they  belong  together.  Societal  action,  on  the  other  hand,  is  oriented 
to  a  rationaliy-Uiotivated  adjustment  of  interests.;]  The  rise  of  societal  or 
even  of  communal  action  fromj^commonrlasssitnatinn  is  by  no  means 
a  universal  phenomenon. 

le  class  situation  may  be  restricted  in  its  effects  to  the  generation  of 
essentially  similar  reactions,  that  is  to  say,  within  our  terminology,  of  'mass 
actions.'  However,  it  may  not  have  even  this  result.  Furthermore,  often 
merely  an  amorphous  communal  action  emerges.  For  example,  the  'mur- 
muring' of  the  workers  known  in  ancient  oriental  ethics :  the  moral  disap- 
proval of  the  work-master's  conduct,  which  in  its  practical  significance  was 

184  POWER 

probably  equivalent  to  an  increasingly  typical  phenomenon  of  precisely  the 
latest  industrial  development,  namely,  the  'slow  down'  (the  deliberate  lim- 
iting of  work  effort)  of  laborers  by  virtue  of  tacit  agreement.  The  degreejn 
which  'communaLaction^^and  possibly  'societal  action,'  emei-ggT^^om^the 
'mass  actions'  of  the  members  of  a  class  is  linked  to  general  cultural  con- 
dTttons,  especialty  to  those"of  'aiTtntellectual  sort.  It  Ts~also~niiked"To"t1ie 
'extent  of  the  xcnitrags-"ThM"^£ve^~atreaH>r^olved,  and  is  especially 
linked  tolhe  transparency  ofjthe  connections  between  the  causes  an^jKe 
consequences'oFme  'class  situation.'. For  however  different  life  chances 
may  be,  this  fact  in  itself,  according  to  all  experience^  by  no jneans^ives 
birthjQ-£lass-a€tion'  (communal^actioirbjrthe  members  of  a  class).  The 
fact  of  being  conditioned  and  the  results  of  the  class  situation  must  be 
distinctly  recognizable.  For  only  then  the  contrast  of  life  chances  can  be 
felt  not  as  an  absolutely  given  fact  to  be  accepted,  but  as  a  resultant  from 
either  (i)  the  given  distribution  of  property,  or  (2)  the  structure  of 
the  concrete  economic  order.  It  is  only  then  that  people  may  react  against 
the  class  structure  not  only  through  acts  of  an  intermittent  and  irrational 
protest,  but  in  the  form  of  rational  association.  There  have  been  'class 
situations'  of  the  first  category  (i),  of  a  specifically  naked  and  transparent 
sort,  in  the  urban  centers  of  Antiquity  and  during  the  Middle  Ages;  espe- 
cially then,  when  great  fortunes  were  accumulated  by  factually  monopo- 
lized trading  in  industrial  products  of  these  localities  or  in  foodstuffs. 
Furthermore,  under  certain  circumstances,  in  the  rural  economy  of  the 
most  diverse  periods,  when  agriculture  was  increasingly  exploited  in  a 
profit-making  manner.  The  most  important  historical  example  of  the 
second  category  (2)  is  the  class  situation  of  the  modern  'proletariat.' 

4:  Types  of  'Class  Struggle' 

Thus  every  class  may  be  the  carrier  of  any  one  of  the  possibly  in- 
numerable forms  of  'class  action,'  but  this  is  not  necessarily  so.  In  any 
case,  a  class  does  not  in  itself  constitute  a  community.  To  treat  'class' 
conceptually  as  having"  the  same  value  as  'community'  leads  to  distor- 
tion. That  men  in  the  same  class  situation  regularly  react  in  mass  actions 
to  such  tangible  situations  as  economic  ones  in  the  direction  of  those 
interests  that  are  most  adequate  to  their  average  number  is  an  important 
and  after  all  simple  fact  for  the  understanding  of  historical  events.  Above 
all,  this  fact  must  not  lead  to  that  kind  of  pseudo-scientific  operation  with 
the  concepts  of  'class'  and  'class  interests'  so  frequently  found  these  days. 


and  which  has  found  its  most  classic  expression  in  the  statement  of  a  tal- 
ented author,  that  the  individual  may  be  in  error  concerning  his  interests 
but  that  the  'class'  is  'infallible'  about  its  interests.  Yet,  if  classesassuch 
are  not  communities,  nevertheless  class  situations  emerge  only  on  the 
basis~of'communaliza^on.  The  communal  action  that  brings  forth  class 
situations,  how^ever,  is  noj_  basically  action  between  membefs~6f~the 
identical  class;  it  is  an  action  between  members  of  different  classes.  Com- 
munal actions  that  directly  determine  the  class  situation  of  the  worker 
and-tbe  entrepreneur  are:  the  labor  market,  the  commodities  rnarket, 
and  the  capitalistic  enterprise.  But,  in  its  turn,  the  existence  of  a  capital- 
istic enterprise  presupposes  that  a  very  specific  communal  action  exists 
and  that  it  is  specifically  structured  to  protect  the  possession  of  goods 
per  se,  and  especially  the  power  of  individuals  to  dispose,  in  principle 
freely,  over  the  means  of  production.  The  existence  of  a  capitalistic  enter- 
prise is  preconditioned  by  a  specific  kind  of  'legal  order.'  Each  kind  of  j 
class  situation,  and  above  all  when  it  rests  upon  the  power  of  property 
per  se,  will  become  most  clearly  efficacious  when  all  other  determinants 
of  reciprocal  relations  are,  as  far  as  possible,  eliminated  in  their  signifi- 
cance. It  is  in  this  way  that  the  utilization  of  the  power  of  property  in  the 
market  obtains  its  most  sovereign  importance. 

Now  'status  groups'  hinder  the  strict  carrying  through  of  the  sheer 
market  principleT  In  the  present  context  they  are  of  interest  to  us  only 
from  this  one  point  of  view.  Before  we  briefly  consider  them,  note  that 
not  much  of  a  general  nature  can  be  said  about  the  more  specific  kinds 
of  antagonism  between  'classes'  (in  our  meaning  of  the  term).  The  great 
shift,  which  has  been  going  on  continuously  in  the  past,  and  up  to  our 
times,  may  be  summarized,  although  at  the  cost  of  some  precision:  the 
struggle  in  which  class  situations  are  effective  has  progressively  shifted 
from  consumption  credit  toward,  first,  competitive  struggles  in  the  com- 
modity market  and,  then,  toward  price  wars  on  the  labor  market.]  The 
'class  struggles'  of  antiquity — to  the  extent  that  they  were  genuine  class 
struggles  and  not  struggles  between  status  groups — were  initially  carried 
on  by  indebted  peasants,  and  perhaps  also  by  artisans  threatened  by  debt 
bondage  and  struggling  against  urban  creditors.  For  debt  bondage  is  the  j 
normal  result  of  the  differentiation  of  wealth  in  commercial  cities,  espe- 
cially in  seaport  cities.  A  similar  situation  has  existed  among  cattle 
breeders.  Debt  relationships  as  such  produced  class  action  up  to  the  time 
of  Cataline.  Along  with  this,  and  with  an  increase  in  provision  of  grain 
for  the  city  by  transporting  it  from  the  outside,  the  struggle  over  the 

l86  POWER 

means  of  sustenance  emerged.  It  centered  in  the  first  place  around  the 
provision  of  bread  and  the  determination  of  the  price  of  bread.  It  lasted 
throughout  antiquity  and  the  entire  Middle  Ages.  The  propertyless  as 
such  flocked  together  against  those  who  actually  and  supposedly  were 
interested  in  the  dearth  of  bread.  This  fight  spread  until  it  involved  all 
those  commodities  essential  to  the  way  of  life  and  to  handicraft  produc- 
tion. There  were  only  incipient  discussions  of  wage  disputes  in  antiquity 
and  in  the  Middle  Ages.  But  they  have  been  slowly  increasing  up  into 
modern  times.  In  the  earlier  periods  they  were  completely  secondary  to 
slave  rebellions  as  well  as  to  fights  in  the  commodity  market. 

The  propertyless  of  antiquity  and  of  the  Middle  Ages  protested  against 
monopolies,  pre-emption,  forestalling,  and  the  withholding  of  goods  from 
the  market  in  order  to  raise  prices.  Today  the  central  issue  is  the  deter- 
mination of  the  price  of  labor. 

This  transition  is  represented  by  the  fight  for  access  to  the  market 
and  for  the  determination  of  the  price  of  products.  Such  fights  went  on 
between  merchants  and  workers  in  the  putting-out  system  of  domestic 
handicraft  during  the  transition  to  modern  times.  Since  it  is  quite  a  gen- 
eral phenomenon  we  must  mention  here  that  the  class  antagonisms  that 
are  conditioned  through  the  market  situation  are  usually  most  bitter 
between  those  who  actually  and  directly  participate  as  opponents  in  price 
wars.  It  is  not  the  rentier,  the  share-holder,  and  the  banker  who  suffer 
the  ill  will  of  the  worker,  but  almost  exclusively  the  manufacturer  and 
the  business  executives  who  are  the  direct  opponents  of  workers  in  price 
wars.  This  is  so  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  it  is  precisely  the  cash  boxes  of 
the  rentier,  the  share-holder,  and  the  banker  into  which  the  more  or  less 
'unearned'  gains  flow,  rather  than  into  the  pockets  of  the  manufacturers 
or  of  the  business  executives.  This  simple  state  of  affairs  has  very  fre- 
quently been  decisive  for  the  role  the  class  situation  has  played  in  the 
formation  of  political  parties.  For  example,  it  has  made^  possible  the 
varieties  of  patriarchal  socialism  and  the  frequent  attemptJ-^formerly,  at 
least — of  threatened  status  groups  to  form  alliances  with  the  proletariat 
against  the  'bourgeoisie.' 

5:  Status  Honor 

Nii'  In  contrast  to  classes,  status  groups  are  normally  communities.  They 
are,  however,  often  "of  an  amorphous  kind.  In  contrast  to  the  purely 
economically  determined  'class  situation'  we  wish  to  designate  as  'status 



situation'  everYjypical  component  ,Q£,th.£,  life  fate  of  men  jhat Js  deter- 
mined by  a  specific,  positive^oiuiegative,  social  estimation  of  honor.  This 
honor  rnay^be  connected  with  any  quaHty  shared  by  a  pluraHty,  and,  of 
course,  it  can  be  knit  to  a  class  situation:  class  distinctions  are  linked  in 
the  most  varied  ways  with  status  distinctions.  Property  as  such  is  not  al- 
ways recognized  as  a  status  qualification,  but  in  the  long  run  it  is,  and 
with  extraordinary  regularity.  In  the  subsistence  economy  of  the  organ- 
ized neighborhood,  very  often  the  richest  man  is  simply  the  chieftain. 
However,  this  often  means  only  an  honorific  preference.  For  example, 
in  the  so-called  pure  modern  'democracy,'  that  is,  one  devoid  of  any  ex- 
pressly ordered  status  privileges  for  individuals,  it  may  be  that  only  the 
families  coming  under  approximately  the  same  tax  class  dance  with  one 
another.  This  example  is  reported  of  certain  smaller  Swiss  cities.  But 
status  honor  need  not  necessarily  be  linked  with  a  'class  situation.'  On  the 

contrary,  it  normaITv~  stands,  in  sharp  nppoa'tinn  to  the  pretensions^ 
sheer  property. 

Both  propertied  and  propertyless  people  can  belong  to  the  same 
status  group,  and  frequently  they  do  with  very  tangible  consequences. 
This  'equality'  of  social  esteem  may,  however,  in  the  long  run  become 
quite  precarious.  The  'equality'  of  status  among  the  American  'gentle- 
men,' for  instance,  is  expressed  by  the  fact  that  outside  the  subordination 
determined  by  the  different  functions  of  'business,'  it  would  be  considered 
strictly  repugnant — wherever  the  old  tradition  still  prevails — if  even  the 
richest  'chief,'  while  playing  billiards  or  cards  in  his  club  in  the  evening, 
would  not  treat  his  'clerk'  as  in  every  sense  fully  his  equal  in  birthright. 
It  would  be  repugnant  if  the  American  'chief  would  bestow  upon  his 
'clerk'  the  condescending  'benevolence'  marking  a  distinction  of  'posi- 
tion,' which  the  Gerrpan  chief  can  never  dissever  from  his  attitude.  This 
is  one  of  the  most  important  reasons  why  in  America  the  German 
'clubby-ness'  has  never  been  able  to  attain  the  attraction  that  the  Ameri- 
can clubs  have. 

6:  Guarantees  of  Status  Stratification 

Ig^content,  status  honor  is  normally  expressed  by  the  fact_that_above_ 
all  else  a  specific  style  of  life  can  be  expected  tfom  all  tKose  who  wish  to 
belong  to  the  circlerLirilced  with  this  expectatioiT~are "restrictions  on 
'social!,  intercourse  (that  is,  intercourse  which  is  not  subservient  to  eco- 
nomic or  any  other  of  business's  'functional'  purposes).  These  restric- 


tions  may  confine  normal  marriages  to  within  the  status  circle  and  may 
lead  to  complete  endogamous  closure.  As  soon  as  there  is  not  a  mere 
individual  and  socially  irrelevant  imitation  of  another  style  of  hfe,  but  an 
agreed-upon  communal  action  of  this  closing  character,  the  'status'  de- 
Velopmgit2_.under  way. 

In  its  characteristic  form,  stratification  by  'status  groups'  on  the  basis 
of  conventional  styles  of  life  evolves  at  the  present  time  in  the  United 
States  out  of  the  traditional  democracy.  For  example,  only  the  resident 
of  a  certain  street  ('the  street')  is  considered  as  belonging  to  'society,' 
is  qualified  for  social  intercourse,  and  is  visited  and  invited.  Above  all, 
this  differentiation  evolves  in  such  a  way  as  to  make  for  strict  submis- 
sion to  the  fashion  that  is  dominant  at  a  given  time  in  society.  This  sub- 
mission to  fashion  also  exists  among  men  in  America  to  a  degree  un- 
known in  Germany.  Such  submission  is  considered  to  be  an  indication 
/V  of  the  fact  that  a  given  man  pretends  to  qualify  as  a  gentleman.  This  sub- 

mission decides,  at  least  prima  facie,  that  he  will  be  treated  as  such.  And 
this  recognition  becomes  just  as  important  for  his  employment  chances 
in  'swank'  establishments,  and  above  all,  for  social  intercourse  and  mar- 
riage with  'esteemed'  families,  as  the  qualification  for  dueling  among 
Germans  in  the  Kaiser's  day.  As  for  the  rest :  certain  families  resident  for 
a  long  time,  and,  of  course,  correspondingly  wealthy,  e.g.  'F.  F.  V.,  i.e. 
First  Families  of  Virginia,'  or  the  actual  or  alleged  descendants  of  the 
'Indian  Princess'  Pocahontas,  of  the  Pilgrim  fathers,  or  of  the  Knicker- 
bockers, the  members  of  almost  inaccessible  sects  and  all  sorts  of  circles 
setting  themselves  apart  by  means  of  any  other  characteristics  and 
badges  ...  all  these  elements  usurp  'status'  honor.  yThe  development  of 
A  A\  status  is  essentially  a  question  of  stratification  resting  upon  usurpation. 
Such  usurpation  is  the  normal  origin  of  almost  all  status  honor.  But  the 
road  from  this  purely  conventional  situation  to  legal  privilege,  positive 
,  or  negative,  is  easily  traveled  as  soon  as  a  certain  stratification  of  the 
social  order  has  in  fact  been  'lived  in'  and  has  achieved  stability  by  virtue 
of  a  stable  distribution  of  economic  pov»'er. 

7:  'Ethnic'  Segregation  and  'Caste' 

I        Where  the  consequences  have  been  realized  to  their  full  extent,  the 

I    status  group  evolves  into  a  closed  'caste.'  Status  distinctions  are  then 

I    guaranteed  not  merely  by  conventions  and  laws,  but  also  by  rituals.  This 

occurs  in  such  a  way  that  every  physical  contact  with  a  member  of  any 


caste  that  is  considered  to  be  'lower'  by  the  members  of  a  'higher'  caste  is 
considered  as  making  for  a  rituahstic  impurity  and  to  be  a  stigma  which 
must  be  expiated  by  a  rehgious  act.  Individual  castes  develop  quite  dis- 
tinct cults  and  gods. 

V  In  general,  however,  the  status  structure  reaches  such  extreme  conse- 
quences only  where  there  are  underlying  differences  which  are  held  to 
be  'ethnic'  The  'caste'  is,  indeed,  the  normal  form  in  which  ethnic  com- 
munities usually  live  side  by  side  in  a  'societalized'  manner.  These  ethnic 
communities  believe  in  blood  relationship  and  exclude  exogamous  mar- 
riage and  social  intercourse.  Such  a  caste  situation  is  part  of  the  phe- 
nomenon of  'pariah'  peoples  and  is  found  all  over  the  world.  These  people 
form  communities,  acquire  specific  occupational  traditions  of  handicrafts 
or  of  other  arts,  and  cultivate  a  belief  in  their  ethnic  community.  They 
live  in  a  'diaspora'  strictly  segregated  from  all  personal  intercourse,  ex- 
cept that  of  an  unavoidable  sort,  and  their  situation  is  legally  precarious. 
Yet,  by  virtue  of  their  economic  indispensability,  they  are  tolerated,  in- 
deed, frequently  privileged,  and  they  live  in  interspersed  political  com- 
munities. The  Jews  are  the  most  impressive  historical  example. 

A  'status'  segregation  grown  into  a  'caste'  diiJers  in  its  structure  from 
a  mere  'ethnic'  segregation:  the  caste  structure  transforms  the  horizontal 
and  unconnected  coexistences  of  ethnically  segregated  groups  into  a  verti- 
cal social  system  of  super-  and  subordination.  Correctly  formulated:  a 
comprehensive  societalization  integrates  the  ethnically  divided  communi- 
ties into  specific  political  and  communal  action.  In  their  consequences 
they  differ  precisely  in  this  way./tihmc  coexistences  condition  a  mutual 
repulsion  and  disdain  but  allow  each  ethnic  community  to  consider  its 
own  honor  as  the  highest  one;  the  caste  structure  brings  about  a  social 
subordination  and  an  acknowledgment  of  'more  honor'  in  favor  of  the 
privileged  caste  and  status  groups.  This  is  due  to  the  fact  that  in  the 
caste  structure  ethnic  distinctions  as  such  have  become  'functional'  dis- 
tinctions within  the  political  societalization  (warriors,  priests,  artisans 
that  are  politically  important  for  war  and  for  building,  and  so  on).  But 
even  pariah  people  who  are  most  despised  are  usually  apt  to  continue 
cultivating  in  some  manner  that  which  is  equally  peculiar  to  ethnic  and 
to  status  communities:  the  belief  in  their  own  specific  'honor.'  This  is 
the  case  with  the  Jews. 

i,  Only  with  the  negatively  privileged  status  groups  does  the  'sense  of 
dignity'  take  a  specific  deviation.  A  sense  of  dignity  is  the  precipitation 
in  individuals  of  social  honor  and  of  conventional  demands  which  a 

1 00  POWER 

positively  privileged  status  group  raises  for  the  deportment  of  its  mem- 
bers. Xhe  sense  of  dignity  thft  rhnrprfprJT-pg  pn<;i>ivp]y  privileged  status 
groups  is  naturally  related  to  their  'being'  which  does  not  transcend  itself, 
that  is,  it  is  to  their  'beauty  and  excellence'  (xaAo->cdYa'&ia),jrheirJ^ing- 
dornis  'of  this  world.'  They  livefor  the  present  and  hj  exploiting  their 
great  past.  The  sense  of  dignity  of  the  negatively  privileged  strata  natu- 
rally-fcfcrs  to  afog^ejpag-heyondiitfae" present,  whether  it  is  of  this  life 
or  oT^another]  In  other  words,  it  must  be  nurtured  by  the  belief  in  a 
^pTrvidential  'mission'  and  by  a  belief  in  a  specific  honor  before  God. 
The  'chosen  people's'  dignity  is  nurtured  by  a  belief  either  that  in  the 
beyond  'the  last  will  be  the  first,'  or  that  in  this  life  a  Messiah  will  appear 
to  bring  forth  into  the  light  of  the  world  which  has  cast  them  out  the 
hidden  honor  of  the  pariah  people.  This  simple  state  of  affairs,  and  not 
the  'resentment'  which  is  so  strongly  emphasized  in  Nietzsche's  much 
admired  construction  in  the  Genealogy  cf  Morals,  is  the  source  of  the 
religiosity  cultivated  by  pariah  status  groups.  In  passing,  we  may  note 
that  resentment  may  be  accurately  applied  only  to  a  limited  extent;  for 
one  of  Nietzsche's  main  examples,  Buddhism,  it  is  not  at  all  applicable. 
/Incidentally,  the  development  of  status  groups  from  ethnic  segrega- 
tions is  by  no  means  the  normal  phenomenon.  On  the  contrary,  since 
objective  'racial  differences'  are  by  no  means  basic  to  every  subjective 
sentiment  of  an  ethnic  community,  the  ultimately  racial  foundation  of 
status  structure  is  rightly  and  absolutely  a  question  of  the  concrete  indi- 
vidual case.  Very  frequently  a  status  group  is  instrumental  in  thepro- 
duction  of  a  thoroughbred  anthfopolc^atType.  tl!ertainly  a  status  group 
is  to  aKigndegree  effective  in  producing  extreme  types,  for  they  select 
personally  qualified  individuals  (e.g.  the  Knighthood  selects  those  who 
are  fit  for  warfare,  physically  and  psychically).  But  selection  is  far  from 
being  the  only,  or  the  predominant,  way  in  which  status  groups  are 
formed:  Political  membership  or  class  situation  has  at  all  times  been  at 
J  least  as  frequendy  decisive.  And  today  the  class  situation  is  by  far 
the  predominant  factor,  for  of  course  the  possibility  of  a  style  of  hfe 
expected  for  members  of  a  status  group  is  usually  conditione'd  eco- 

8:  Status  Privileges 

For  all  practical  purposes,  stratification  by  status  goes  hand  in  hand 

i^  witb-ajnonopolization  of  idealand~mareml--goods  or  opportunities;  in  a 

manner  we  have  come  to  know  as  typical.  Besides  the  specific  status 


honor,  which  always  rests  upon  distance  and  exclusiveness,  we  find  all  \/** 
sorts  of  material  monopolies.  Such  honorific  preferences  may  consist 
of  the  privilege  of  wearing  special  costumes,  of  eating  special  dishes 
taboo  to  others,  of  carrying  arms — which  is  most  obvious  in  its  conse- 
quences— the  right  to  pursue  certain  non-professional  dilettante  artistic 
practices,  e.g.  to  play  certain  musical  instruments.  Of  course,  material 
monopolies  provide  the  most  effective  motives  for  the  exclusiveness  of  a 
status  group;  although,  in  themselves,  they  are  rarely  sufficient,  almost 
always  they  come  into  play  to  some  extent.  Within  a  status  circle  there 
is  the  question  of  intermarriage:  the  interest  of  the  families  in  the 
monopolization  of  potential  bridegrooms  is  at  least  of  equal  importance 
and  is  parallel  to  the  interest  in  the  monopolization  of  daughters.  The 
daughters  of  the  circle  must  be  provided  for.  With  an  increased  inclosure 
of  the  status  group,  the  conventional  preferential  opportunities  for  special 
employment  grow  into  a  legal  monopoly  of  special  offices  for  the  mem- 
bers. Certain  goods  become  objects  for  monopolization  by  status  groups. 
In  the  typical  fashion  these  include  'entailed  estates'  and  frequently  also 
the  possessions  of  serfs  or  bondsmen  and,  finally,  special  trades.  This 
monopolization  occurs  positively  when  the  status  group  is  exclusively  en- 
titled to  own  and  to  manage  them;  and  negatively  when,  in  order  to 
maintain  its  specific  way  of  life,  the  status  group  must  not  own  and 
manage  them. 

i^Qi^  decisive  role  of  a  'style  of  life'  in  status  'honor'  means  that  status 
groups  are  the  specific  bearers^jaf _aliJcpnventions.'  In^wEatever  way  it  i 
may  be  manifest,  all  'stylization'  of  life  either  originates  in  status  groups  1 
or  is  at  least  conserved  by  them.  Even  if  the  principles  of  status  conven- 
tions differ  greatly,  they  reveal  certain  typical  traits,  especially  among 
those  strata  which  are  most  privileged.  Quite  generally,  among  privileged 
status  groups  there  is  a  status  disqualification  that  operates  against  the 
performance  of  common  physical  labor.  This  disqualification  is  now 
'setting  in'  in  America  against  the  old  tradition  of  esteem  for  labor. 
Very  frequently  every  rational  economic  pursuit,  and  especially  'entre- 
preneurial activity,'  is  looked  upon  as  a  disqualification  of  status.  Artistic 
and  literary  activity  is  also  considered  as  degrading  work  as  soon  as  it  is 
exploited  for  income,  or  at  least  when  it  is  connected  with  hard  physical 
exertion.  An  example  is  the  sculptor  working  like  a  mason  in  his  dusty 
smock  as  over  against  the  painter  in  his  salon-like  'studio'  and  those 
forms  of  musical  practice  that  are  acceptable  to  the  status  group. 

192  POWER 

9:  Economic  Conditions  and  Effects  of  Status  Stratification 

The  frequent  disqualification  of  the  gainfully  employed  as  such  is  a 
direct  result  of  the  principle  of  status  stratification  peculiar  to  the  social 
order,  and  of  course,  of  this  principle's  opposition  to  a  distribution  of 
power  which  is  regulated  exclusively  through  the  market.  These  two 
factors  operate  along  with  various  individual  ones,  which  will  be  touched 
upon  below. 

We  have  seen  above  that  the  market  and  its  processes  'knows  no  per- 
sonal distinctions':  'functional'  interests  dominate  it.  It  knows  nothing 
of  'honor.'  The  status  order  means  precisely  the  reverse,  viz.:  stratifica- 
tion in  terms  of  'honor'  and  of  styles^_life  peculiar  tOL-Status  groups  as 
such.  If  mere  economic  acquisition  and  naked  economic  power  still 
bearing  the  stigma  of  its  extra-status  origin  could  bestow  upon  anyone 
who  has  won  it  the  same  honor  as  those  who  are  interested  in  status  by 
virtue  of  style  of  life  claim  for  themselves,  the  status  order  would  be 
threatened  at  its  very  root.  This  is  the  more  so  as,  given  equality  of  status 
honor,  property  per  se  represents  an  addition  even  if  it  is  not  overtly 
acknowledged  to  be  such.  Yet  if  such  economic  acquisition  and  power 
gave  the  agent  any  honor  at  all,  his  wealth  would  result  in  his  attaining 
more  hqnor  than  those  who  successfully  claim  honor  by  virtue  of  style 
of  life.  (Therefore  all  groups  having  interests  ^n  the  stajtus^prder  react 
(.with  special  sKarpness  precisely  against  the  pretensions  of  purely  eco- 
""Sylnnrnic  arqiiisitinn-  In  most  cases  they  react  the  more  vigorously  the 
more  they  feel  themselves  threatened.  Calderon's  respectful  treatment  of 
the  peasant,  for  instance,  as  opposed  to  Shakespeare's  simultaneous  and 
ostensible  disdain  of  the  canaille  illustrates  the  different  way  in  which 
a  firmly  structured  status  order  reacts  as  compared  with  a  status  order 
that  has  become  economically  precarious.  This  is  an  example  of  a  state 
of  affairs  that  recurs  everywhere.  Precisely  because  of  the  rigorous  reac- 
tions against  the  claims  of  property  per  se,  the  'parvenu'  is  never  ac- 
cepted, personally  and  without  reservation,  by  the  privileged  status 
groups,  no  matter  how  completely  his  style  of  life  has  been  adjusted  to 
theirs.  They  wiU^only^  accept  Jiis  descendants  who  have  been  ediicated. 
in  the  conventions  of  theit. status  group  and_wEo~havejieYer_besmirched 
itsjignor  by  their  own  economic  labor. 
I  As  to  the  general  e^ect^  of  the  status  order,  only  one  consequence  can 
/    be  stated,  but  it  is  a  very  important  one:  the  hindrance  of  the  free  de- 


velopment  of  the  market  occurs^ first  for  those  goods  which  status  groups 
directly  withhel3"troiTrfree  exchange  by  monopohzation.  This  monopoH- 
zation  may  be  effected  eithTfiegaMy-  or  convcntionallyT^W  example,  in 
many  Hellenic  cities  during  the  epoch  of  status  groups,  and  also  originally 
in  Rome,  the  inherited  estate  (as  is  shown  by  the  old  formula  for  indic- 
tion  against  spendthrifts)  was  monopolized  just  as  were  the  estates  of 
knights,  peasants,  priests,  and  especially  the  clientele  of  the  craft  and 
merchant  guilds.  The  market  is  restricted,  and  the  power  of  naked  prop- 
erty per  se,  which  gives  its  stamp  to  'class  formation,'  is  pushed  into  the 
background.  The  results  of  this  process  can  be  most  varied.  Of  course, 
they  do  not  necessarily  weaken  the  contrasts  in  the  economic  situation. 
Frequently  they  strengthen  these  contrasts,  and  in  any  case,  where  strati- 
fication by  status  permeates  a  community  as  strongly  as  was  the  case 
in  all  political  communities  of  antiquity  and  of  the  Middle  Ages,  one  can 
never  speak  of  a  genuinely  free  market  competition  as  we  understand 
it  today.  There  are  wider  effects  than  this  direct  exclusion  of  special 
goods  from  the  market.  From  the  contrariety  between  the  status  order 
and  the  purely  economic  order  mentioned  above,  it  follows  that  in 
most  instances  the  notion  of  honor  peculiar  to  status  absolutely 
abhors  that  which  is  essential  to  the  market:  higgling.  Honor  abhors 
higgling  among  peers  and  occasionally  it  taboos  higgling  for  the  mem- 
bers of  a  status  group  in  general.  Therefore,  everywhere  some  status 
groups,  and  usually  the  most  influential,  consider  almost  any  kind  of 
overt  participation  in  economic  acquisition  as  absolutely  stigmatizing. 

With  some  over-simplification,  one  might  thus  say  that  'classes'  are 
stratified  according  to  their  relations  to  the  production  and  acquisition 
of  goods;  whereas  'status  groups'  are  stratified  accordmg  to  the  principles 
of^_their  consumption  of  goods  as  represented  by  special  'styles  of  life.' 

An  'occupational  group'  is  also  a  status  group.  For  normally,  it"success- 
fully  claims  social  honor  only  by  virtue  of  the  special  style  of  life  which 
may  be  determined  by  it.  The  differences  between  classes  and  status 
groups  frequently  overlap.  It  is  precisely  those  status  communities  most 
strictly  segregated  in  terms  of  honor  (viz.  the  Indian  castes)  who  today 
show,  although  within  very  rigid  limits,  a  relatively  high  degree  of  in- 
difference to  pecuniary  income.  However,  the  Brahmins  seek  such  in- 
come in  many  different  ways. 

As  to  the  general  economic  conditions  making  for  the  predominance 
of  stratification  by  'status,'  only  very  little  can  be  said.  When  the  bases  of 
the  acquisition  and  distribution  of  goods  are  relatively  stable,  stratifica- 

194  POWER 

tion  by  status  is  favored.  Every  technological  repercussion  and  economic 
transformation  threatens  stratification  by  status  and  pushes  the  class  situ- 
ation into  the  foreground.  Epochs  and  countries  in  which  the  naked  class 
J  \  ; ,  situation  is  of  predominant  significance  are  regularly  the  periods  of  tech- 
nical and  economic  transformations.  And  every  slowing  down  of  the 
shifting  of  economic  stratifications  leads,  in  due  course,  to  the  growth  of 
status  structures  and  makes  for  a  resuscitation  of  the  important  role  of 
social  honor. 

id:  Parties 

Whereas  the  genuine  place  of  'classes'  is  within  the  economic  order,  the 
place  of  'status  groups'  is  within  the  social  order,  that  is,  within  the 
sphere  of  the  distribution  of  'honor.'  From  within  these  spheres,  classes 
and  status  groups  influence  one  another  and  they  influence  the  legal  order 
and  are  in  turn  influenced  by  it.  But  ('parties'  live  in  a  house  of  'power,' 

Their  action  is  oriented  toward  the  acquIsitIon25f~^cral  'power,'  that 
is  to  say,  toward  influencing  a  communal  action  no  matter  what  its  con- 
tent-Diay^be.  In  principle,  parties  may  exist  in  a  sociaF^lub'  as  well  as 
in  a  'state.'  As  over  against  the  actions  of  classes  and  status  groups,  for 
which  this  is  not  necessarily  the  case,  the  communal  actions  of  'parties' 
always  mean  a  societalization.  For  party  actions  are,  always'  directed  to- 
ward a  goal  which  is  striven  for  in  planned  manner.  This  goal  may  be  a 
'cause'  (the  party  may  aim  at  reahzing  a  program  for  ideal  or  material 
purposes),  or  the  goal  may  be  'personal'  (sinecures,  power,  and  from 
these,  honor  for  the  leader  and  the  followers  of  the  party).  Usually 
the  party  action  aims  at  all  these  simultaneously.  Parties  are,  therefore, 
only^possible  within  communities^jthaL_5ie  societal i zed,  that  is,  whicli 
have  some  rational  order  and  a  staff  of  persons  available_who  are  ready 
tocnlorce  it.  For  parties  ajm  precisely  at  influencing  this  staf^j,  and  if  pos- 
siblcj  to^recruit  it  from  party  followers. 

In  any  individuar~case7~partTesmay  represent  interests  determined 
through  'class  situation'  or  'status  situation,'  and  they  may  recruit  their 
following  respectively  from  one  or  the  other.  But  they  need  be  neither 
purely  'class'  nor  purely  'status'  parties.  In  most  cases  they  are  partly 
class  parties  and  partly  status  parties,  but  sometimes  they  are  neither. 
They  may  represent  ephemeral  or  enduring  structures.  Their  means  of 
attaining  power  may  be  quite  varied,  ranging  from  naked  violence  of 
^ny  sort  to  canvassmg  tor^yotes  with  coarse  or  subtTe~means:  money, 
social  influence,  the  force  of  speech,  suggestion,  clumsy  hoax,  and  so  on  to 


the   rougher    or    more   artful    tactics   of   obstruction    in    parHamentary 

The  sociological  structure  of  parties  differs  in  a  basic  way  according  to 
the  kind  of  communal  actioir~which  they  struggle  to  influenceTPaiTi'es 
also  differ  according  to  whether  or  not  the  community  is  stratified  by 
status  or  by  classes.  Above  all  else,  they  (vary  according  to  the  structure  U/%-. 
of  domination  within  the  community.  For  their  leaders  normally  deal 
with  the  conquest  of  a  community.  They  are,  in  the  general  concept 
which  is  maintained  here,  not  only  products  of  specially  modern  forms 
of  domination.  We  shall  also  designate  as  parties  the  ancient  and  me- 
dieval 'parties,'  despite  the  fact  that  their  structure  differs  basically  from 
the  structure  of  modern  parties.  By  virtue  of  these  structural  differences 
of  domination  it  is  impossible  to  say  anything  about  the  structure  of 
parties  without  discussing  the  structural  forms  of  social  domination 
per  se.  Parties,  which  are  always  structures  struggling  for  domination, 
are  very  frequently  organized  in  a  very  strict  'authoritarian'  fashion.  .  . 
/Concerning  'classes,'  'status  groups,'  and  'parties,'  it  must  be  said  in 
general  that  they  necessarily  presuppose  a  comprehensive  societalization, 
and  especially  a  political  framework  of  communal  action,  within  which 
they  operate^  This  does  not  mean  that  parties  would  be  confined  by  the 
frontiers  of  any  individual  political  community.  On  the  contrary,  at  all 
times  it  has  been  the  order  of  the  day  that  the  societalization  (even  when 
it  aims  at  the  use  of  military  force  in  common)  reaches  beyond  the 
frontiers  of  politics.  This  has  been  the  case  in  the  solidarity  of  interests 
among  the  Oligarchs  and  among  the  democrats  in  Hellas,  among  the 
Guelfs  and  among  Ghibellines  in  the  Middle  Ages,  and  within  the  Calvin- 
ist  party  during  the  period  of  religious  struggles.  It  has  been  the  case  up 
to  the  solidarity  of  the  landlords  (international  congress  of  agrarian  land- 
lords), and  has  continued  among  princes  (holy  alliance,  Karlsbad  de- 
crees), socialist  workers,  conservatives  (tht  longing  of  Prussian  conserva- 
tives for  Russian  intervention  in  1850),  But  their  aim  is  not  necessarily 
the  establishment  of  new  international  political,  i.e.  territorial,  dominion. 
In  the  main  they  aim  to  influence  the  existing  dominion.* 

*  The  posthumously  published  text  breaks  off  here.  We  omit  an  incomplete  sketch  of 
types  of  'warrior  estates.' 

V  iii.  Jjureaucracy 

I :  Characteristics  of  Bureaucracy 

Modern  officialdom  functions  in  the  following  specific  niannerj 

I.  There   isthe    principle   of   fixed   and   official   jurisdictional   areas^- 
^iihiciu^e  generally  ordered  by  rules,  that  is,  bylaws  or  admimsfrative 

1.  The  regular  activities  required  for  the  purposes  of  the  bureau- 
cratically  governed  structure  are  distributed  in  a  fixed  way  as  official 

2.  The  authority  to  give  the  commands  required  for  the  discharge 
of  these  duties  is  distributed  in  a  stable  way  and  is  strictly  delimited  by 
rules  concerning  the  coercive  means,  physical,  sacerdotal,  or  otherwise, 
which  may  be  placed  at  the  disposal  of  officials. 

3.  Methodical  provision  is  made  for  the  regular  and  continuous  fulfil- 
ment of  these  duties  and  for  the  execution  of  the  corresponding  rights; 
only  persons  who  have  the  generally  regulated  qualifications  to  serve 
are  employed. 

In  public  and  lawful  governmentthese  three  elern£n.ts  constiLiite 
^bureaucfaiic  authority.'  In  private  economicJomi  nation,  they  constitute 
bureaucratic    njanagemeiTtr"Bureaucracy.  thus  understood,  is  fully  de- 

veloped in  political  and  ecclesiastical  communities  only  in  the  modern 
state,  and,  in  the  private  economy,  only  in  the  most  advanced  institutions 
of  capitalism.\Permanent  and  public  office  authority,  with  fixed  jurisdic- 
tion, is  not  the  historical  rule  but  rather  the  exception..  This  is  so  even 
in  large  political  structures  such  as  those  of  the  ancient  Orient,  the  Ger- 
manic and  Mongolian  empires  of  conquest,  or  of  many  feudal  structures 
of  state.  In  all  these  cases,  the  ruler  executes  the  most  important  measures 
through   personal   trustees,    table-companions,   or    court-servants.    Their 

Wirtschaft  itnd  Gesellschajt,  part  in,  chap.  6,  pp.  650-78. 



commissions  and  authority  are  not  precisely  delimited  and  are  tempo- 
rarily called  into  being  for  each  case. 

II.  The  principles  of  office  ^hierarchy  \and  of  levels  of  graded  authority 
mean  a  firrnly  ordered  system  of  super-  and  subordination  in  which 
there  is  a  supervision  of  the  lower  offices  by  the  higher  ones.  Such  a  sys-* 
tern  offers  the  governed  the  possibility  of  appealing  the  decisiori~6f  a 
lower  office  to  its  higher  authority,  in  a  definitely  regulated  manner. 
With  the  full  development  of  the  bureaucratic  type,  the  office  hierarchy 
is  monocratically  organized.  The  princj^leo/hierarchical  pffice  authority 
is  found  in  all  bureaucratic  structures :  in  state  and  ecclesiasticaTstructures  • 
as  well  as  in  large  party  organizations  and  private  enterprises.  It  does 
not  matter  for  the  character  of  bureaucracy  whether  its  authority  is 
called  'private'  or  'public' 

When  the  principle  of  jurisdictional  'competency'  is  fully  carried 
through,  hierarchical  subordination — at  least  in  public  office — does  not 
mean  that  the  'higher'  authority  is  simply  authorized  to  take  over  the 
business  of  the  'lower.'  Indeed,  the  opposite  is  the  rule.  Qnce_established 
and  having  fulfilled  its  task,  an  office  tends  to  continue  in  existence  and 
be  heId"5^IinQther  incumbent.   ^~ 

III.  The  management  of  the  modern  office  is  based  upon  written 
documents  X^the  files')^  which  are  ^preserved  in  their  original  or  draught 
form.  There  is,  therefore,  a  staff  of  sub^ern  officials  and  scribes  of  all 
sorts.  The  body  of  officials  actively  engaged  in  a  'public'  office,  along 
with  the  respective  apparatus  of  material  implements  and  the  files, 
make  up  a  'bureau.'  In  private  enterprise,  'the  bureau'  is  often  called  'the 
ofEge.'        "  ■ 

In  principle,  the  modern  organization  of  the  civil  service  separates  the 
bureau  from  the  private  domicile  of  the  official,  and,  in  general,  bureau- 
cracy segregates  official  activity  as  something  distinct  from  the  sphere 
oF^private  life.  Public  momes  and  equipment  are  divorced  from  the 
private  property  of  the  official.  This  condition  is  everywhere  the  product 
of  a  long  development.  Nowadays,  it  is  found  in  public  as  well  as  in 
private  enterprises;  in  the  latter,  the  principle  extends  even  to  the  leading 
entrepreneur.  In  prinsiple,  the  executive  office  is  separated  from  the 
household,  business  from  private  correspondence,  and  business  assets 
from  private  fortunes.  The  more  consistently  the  modern  type  of  busi- 
ness management  has  been  carried  through  the  more  are  these  separa- 
tions the  case.  The  beginnings  of  this  process  are  to  be  found  as  early 
as  the  Middle  Ages. 

198  POWER 

It  is  the  peculiarity  of  tlie  modern  entrepreneur  that  he  conducts  him- 
self as  the  'first  official'  of  his  enterprise,  in  the  very  same  way  in  which 
the  ruler  of  a  specifically  modern  bureaucratic  state  spoke  of  himself  as 
'the  first  servant'  of  the  state.^  The  idea  that  the  bureau  activities  of  the 
state  are  intrinsically  different  in  character  from  the  management  of 
private  economic  offices  is  a  continental  European  notion  and,  by  way  of 
contrast,  is  totally  foreign  to  the  American  way. 

IV.  Office  management,  at  least  all  specialized  office  management — 
and  such  management  is  distinctly  modern — usuiHIyTpresupposes  thor- 
ough  and  expert  training.  ^This  increasingly  holds  for  the  modern  execu- 
tive and  employee  of  private  enterprises,  in  the  same  manner  as  it  holds 
for  the  state  official. 

V_.W1^^"  ^^^  nfFire  is  fully__j.eveloped,  official^actiyity  demands  the 
full  working  capacity  of  the  official,  irrespective  of  the  fact  tKat  his  oblig- 
atory  time  inrtRe_bureauTjnay  be  firmly  deUmited.  InTlKe  normal  case, 
this  is  only  the  product  of  a  long  development,  in  the  public  as  well  as 
in  the  private  office.  Formerly,  in  all  cases,  the  normal  state  of  affairs 
was  reversed:  official  business  was  discharged  as  a  secondary  activity. 

VI.  The  management  of  the  office  follows  general  rules,  which  are 
more"  or  less  stable,  rnore  or  less  exhaustive,  and  wKictrTaTr~bc-icarned. 
Knowledge  of  these  rules  represents  a  special  technical  learning  which 
the  officials  possess.  It  involves  jurisprudence,  or  administrative  or  busi- 
ness management. 

'  The  reduetioHr  of  ^?aodern-office'  management  to  rules  is  deeply  ein-  _ 
.bedded .in its  very  nature.  The  theory  of  modern  public  administration, 
for  instance,  assumes  that  the  authority  to  order  certain  matters  by  de- 
cree— which  has  been  legally  granted  to  public  authorities — does  not  en- 
title the  bureau  tojxgulate- the  matter  by  commands  given  for  each  case, 
buL-XMily.-to  regulate. the  matter  abstractly.  This  stands  in  extreme  con- 
trast to  the  regulation  of  all  relationships  through  individual  privileges 
and  bestowals  of  favor,  which  is  absolutely  dominant  in  patrimonialism, 
at  least  in  so  far  as  such  relationships  are  not  fixed  by  sacred  tradition. 

2:  The  Position  of  the  Official 

All  thisresults  in  the  following  for  the  internal,  and  external  position 
of  tjie.,official: 

I.  Office  holding  is  a  'vocation.'  This  is  shown,  first,  in  the  requirement 
of  a  firmly  prescribed  course  of  training,   which  demands  the  entire 


capacity  for  work  for  a  long  period  of  time,  and  in  the  generally  pre- 
scribed and  special  examinations  which  are  prerequisites  of  employment.  ^  TE^"^ 
Furthermore,  the  position  of  the  ogicial  is  in  the  nature  of  a  duty.  This  |-  e^-  '^^ 
determines  the  internal  structure  of  his  relations,  in  the  following  man- 
ner: Legally  and  actually,  office  holding  is  not  considered  a  source  to  be 
exploited  for  rents  or  emoluments,  as  was  normally  the  case  during  the 
Middle  Ages  and  frequently  up  to  the  threshold  of  recent  times.  Nor  is 
office  holding  considered  a  usual  exchange  of  services  for  equivalents,        -^c;^ 
as  is  the  case  with  free  labor  contracts. (Entrance  into  an  office,  includm^\  ^  Vr 
one  in  the^riyate  economy,  is  considered  an  acceptance  of  a  specific  obli- L-  V^ 
gation  of  faithful  management  in  return  for  a  secure  existenceJit  is  de-  J  "v-V^'' 
cisive  Tor  the  specific  nature  of  modern  loyalty  to  an  office  that,  in  the        :  ,j-^' 
pure  type,  it  does  not  establish  a  relationship  to  a  person,  like  the  vassal's 
or  disciple's  faith  in  feudal  or  in  patrimonial  relations  of  authority /Mod-_ 
ern  loyaltyjs  devoted  t^qjmpersonal_andfun^^^  Behind  the,. -^ 

functional  purposes,  of  course,,  'ideas  of  culture-values'  usually  stan  J. } 
These  are  ersatz  for  the  earthly  or   supra-mundane  personal  master: 
ideas  such  as  'state,'  'church,'  'community,'  'party,'  or  'enterprise'  are 
thought  of  as  being  realized  in  a  community;  they  provide  an  ideological 
halo  for  the  master. 

The  political  official — at  least  in  the  fully  developed  modern  state — is 
not  considered  the  personal  servant  of  a  ruler.  Today,  the  bishop,  the 
priest,  and  the  preacher  are  in  fact  no  longer,  as  in  early  Christian  times, 
holders  of  purely  personal  charisma.  The  supra-mundane  and  sacred 
values  which  they  offer  are  given  to  everybody  who  seems  to  be  worthy 
of  them  and  who  asks  for  them.  In  former  times,  such  leaders  acted 
upon  the  personal  command  of  their  master;  in  principle,  they  were  re- 
sponsible only  to  him.  Nowadays,  in  spite  of  the  partial  survival  of  the 
old  theory,  such  religious  leaders  are  officials  in  the  service  of  a  func- 
tional purpose,  which  in  the  [present-day  'church'  has  become  routinized 
and,  in  turn,  ideologically  hallowed.. 

II.  The  personal  position  of  the  official  is  patterned  in  the  following^ 

I.  Whether  he  is  in  a  private  office  or  a  public  bureau,  the  modern 
official  always  strives  and  usually  enjoys  a  distinct  social  esteem  as  com-  .-'' 
pared  with  the  governed.  His  social  position  is  guaranteed  by  the  pre- 
scriptive rules_^of  rank  order  and,  for  the  political  official,  by  special 
deHmUions  of  the  criminal  code  against  'insults  of  officials'  and  'con- 
tempt' of  state  and  church  authorities. 


200  POWER 

The  actual  social  position  of  the  official  is  normallyvhighest  ^here,  as 
in  old  civilized  countries,  the  following  conditions  prevail:  a  strong  de- 
mand for  administration  by  trained  experts;  a  strong  and  stable  social  dif- 
ferentiation, w^here  the  official  predominantly  derives  from  socially  and 
economically  privileged  strata  because  of  the  social  distribution  of  power; 
or  where  the  costliness  of  the  required  training  and  status  conventions  are 
binding  upon  him.  The  possession  of  educational  certiEcates — to  be  dis- 
cussed elsewhere^ — are  usually  linked  with  qualification  for  office. 
Naturally,  such  certificates  or  patents  enhance  the  'status  element'  in  the 
social  position  of  the  official.  For  the  rest  this  status  factor  in  individual 
cases  is  explicitly  and  impassively  acknowledged;  for  example,  in  the 
prescription  that  the  acceptance  or  rejection  of  an  aspirant  to  an  official 
career  depends  upon  the  consent  ('election')  of  the  members  of  the  offi- 
cial body.  This  is  the  case  in  the  German  army  with  the  officer  corps. 
Similar  phenomena,  which  promote  this  guild-like  closure  of  officialdom, 
are  typically  found  in  patrimonial  and,  particularly,  in  prebendal  official- 
doms of  the  past.  The  desire  to  resurrect  such  phenomena  in  changed 
forms  is  by  no  means  infrequent  among  modern  bureaucrats.  For  in- 
stance, they  have  played  a  role  among  the  demands  of  the  quite  prole- 
tarian and  expert  officials  (the  tretyj  element)  during  the  Russian  revo- 

Usually  the  social  esteem  of  the  officials  as  such  is  especially  (low  where 
the  demand  for  expert  administration  and  the  dominance  oj^status  con- 
ventions are  weak.  This  is  especially  the  case  in  the  United  States;  it  is 
often  the  case  in  new  settlements  by  virtue  of  their  wide  fields  for  profit- 
making  and  the  great  instabiHty  of  their  social  stratification. 

2.  The  giure^tj^e  of  bureaucratic  official  is  a^^ointed  by  a  superior  au- 
thority. An  official  elected  by  the  governed  is  not  a  purely  bureaucratic 
figure.  Of  course,  the  formal  existence  of  an  election  does  not  by  itself 
mean  that  no  appointment  hides  behind  the  election — in  the  state,  espe- 
cially, appointment  by  party  chiefs.  Whether  or  not  this  is  the  case  does 
not  depend  upon  legal  statutes  but  upon  the  way  in  which  the  party 
mechanism  functions.  Once  firmly  organized,  the  parties  can  turn  a 
formally  free  election  into  the  mere  acclamation  of  a  candidate  designated 
by  the  party  chief.  As  a  rule,  however,  a  formally  free  election  is  turned 
into  a  fi^tj  conducted^ according "to^defrriite  TuTesTfor  votes  in  favor  of 
one  of  two  designated  candidates. 

In  all  circumstances,  the  designation  of  officials  by  means  of  an  ei^- 
tiori   among  the  governed   modifies   the   strictness   of  hierarchical   sub- 


ordinatiort  In  principle,  an  official  who  is  so  elected  has  an  autonomous' 
position  opposite  the  superordinate  official.  I^he  elected  officiaF  does  not 
derive  his  position  'from  above'  but  'from  below/yor  at  least  not  from  a 
superior  authority  of  the  official  hierarchy  but  from  powerful  party  men 
('bosses'),  who  also  determine  his  further  career.  The  career  of  the 
elected  official  is  not,  or  a^  least  not  primarily,  dependent  upon  his 
chief  in  the  administration.  (The  official  who  is  not  elected  but  appointed 
by  a  chief  normally  functions  more  exactlyJfrom  a  technical  point  of 
view,  because,  all  other  circumstances  being  equal,  it  is  more  likely 
that  purely  functional  points  of  consideration  and  qualities  will  deter- 
mine his  selection  and  career.  As  laymen,  the  governed  can  become 
acquainted  with  the  extent  to  which  a  candidate  is  expertly  qualified 
for  office  only  in  terms  of  experience,  and  hence  only  after  his  service. 
Moreover,  in  every  sort  of  selection  of  officials  by  election,  parties  quite 
naturally  give  decisive  weight  not  to  expert  considerations  but  to  the 
services  a  follower  renders  to  the  party  boss.  This  holds  for  all  kinds 
of  procurement  of  officials  by  elections,  for  the  designation  of  formally 
free,  elected  officials  by  party  bosses  when  they  determine  the  slate  of 
candidates,  or  the  free  appointment  by  a  chief  who  has  himself  been 
elected.  The  contrast,  however,  is  relative:  substantially  similar  conditions 
hold  where  legitimate  monarchs  and  their  subordinates  appoint  officials, 
except  that  the  influence  of  the  followings  are  then  less  controllable. 

.Where  the  demand  for  administration  by  trained  experts  is  consider- 
able, and  the  party  followings  have  to  recognize  an  intellectually  de- 
veloped, educated,  and  freely  moving  'public  opinion,'  the  use  of  un- 
qualified officials  falls  back  upon  the  party  in  power  at  the  next  elec- 
tion. Naturally,  this  is  more  likely  to  happen  when  the  officials  are  ap- 
pointed by  the  chief.  The  demand  for  a  trained  administration  now  ex- 
ists in  the  United  States,  but  in  the  large  cities,  where  immigrant  votes  \ 
are  'corraled,'  there  is,  of  course,  no  educated  public  opinion.  Therefore, 
popular  elections  of  the  administrative  chief  and  also  of  his  subordinate 
officials  usually  endanger  the  expert  qualification  of  the  official  as  well  '^ 
as  the  precise  functioning  of  the  bureaucratic  mechanism.  It  also  weakens 
the  dependence  of  the  officials  upon  the  hierarchy.  This  holds  at  least 
for  the  large  administrative  bodies  that  are  difficult  to  supervise.  The 
superior  qualification  and  integrity  of  federal  judges,  appointed  by  the 
President,  as  over  against  elected  judges  in  the  United  States  is  well 
known,  although  both  types  of  officials  have  been  selected  primarily  in 
terms  of  party  considerations.  The  great  changes  in  American  metropoli- 

202  POWER 

tan  administrations  demanded  by  reformers  have  proceeded  essentially 
from  elected  mayors  working  with  an  apparatus  of  officials  who  were 
appointed  by  them.  These  reforms  have  thus  come  about  in  a  'Caesarist' 
fashion.  Viewed  technically,  as  an  organized  form  of  authority,  the 
efficiency  of  'Caesarism,'  which  often  grows  out  of  democracy,  rests  in 
general  upon  the  position  of  the  'Caesar'  as  a  free  trustee  of  the  masses 
(of  the  army  or  of  the  citizenry),  who  is  unfettered  by  tradition.  The 
'Caesar'  is  thus  the  unrestrained  master  of  a  body  of  highly  qualified 
military  officers  and  officials  whom  he  selects  freely  and  personally  with- 
out regard  to  tradition  or  to  any  other  considerations.  This  'rule  of  the 
personal  genius,'  however,  stands  in  contradiction  to  the  formally  'demo- 
cratic' principle  of  a  universally  elected  officialdom. 

3.  Normally,  the  position  of  the  official  is  held  for  life,  at  least  in  pub- 
lic bureaucracies;  and  this  is  increasingly  the  case  for  all  similar  struc- 
tures. As  a  factual  rule,  tenure  for  life  is  presupposed,  even  where  the 
giving  of  notice  or  periodic  reappointment  occurs.  In  contrast  to  the 
worker  in  a  private  enterprise,  the  official  normally  holds  tenure.  Legal 
or  actual  life-tenure,  however,  is  not  recognized  as  the  official's  right 
to  the  possession  of  office,  as  was  the  case  with  many  structures  of "aiP 
thority  in  the  past.  Where  legal  guarantees  against  arbitrary  dismissal  or 
transfer  are  developed,  they  merely  serve  to  guarantee  a  strictly  objec- 
tive discharge  of  specific  office  duties  free  from  all  personal  considerations. 
In  Germany,  this  is  the  case  for  all  juridical  and,  increasingly,  for  all 
administrative  officials. 

Within  the  bureaucracy,  therefore,  the  measure  of  'independence,' 
legally  guaranteed  by  tenure,  is  not  always  a  source  of  increased  status 
for  the  official  whose  position  is  thus  secured.  Indeed,  often  the  reverse 
holds,  especially  in  old  cultures  and  communities  that  are  highly  differ- 
entiated. In  such  communities,  the  stricter  the  subordination  under  the 
arbitrary  rule  of  the  master,  the  more  it  guarantees  the  maintenance  of 
the  conventional  seigneurial  style  of  living  for  the  official.  Because  of 
the  very  absence  of  these  legal  guarantees  of  tenure,  the  conventional 
esteem  for  the  official  may  rise  in  the  same  way  as,  during  the  Middle 
Ages,  the  esteem  of  the  nobility  of  office  ^  rose  at  the  expense  of  esteem 
for  the  freemen,  and  as  the  king's  judge  surpassed  that  of  the  people's 
judge.  In  Germany,  the  military  officer  or  the  administrative  official 
can  be  removed  from  office  at  any  time,  or  at  least  far  more  readily  than 
the  'independent  judge,'  who  never  pays  with  loss  of  his  office  for  even 
the  grossest  offense  against  the  'code  of  honor'  or  against  social  conven- 


tions  of  the  salon.  For  this  very  reason,  if  other  things  are  equal,  in  the 
eyes  of  the  master  stratum  the  judge  is  considered  less  qualified  for 
social  intercourse  than  are  officers  and  administrative  officials,  whose 
greater  dependence  on  the  master  is  a  greater  guarantee  of  their  con- 
formity with  status  conventions. '  Of  course,  the  average  official  strives 
for  a  civil-service  law,  which  would  materially  secure  his  old  age  and 
provide  increased  guarantees  against  his  arbitrary  removal  from  office. 
This  striving,  however,  has  its  limits.  A  very  strong  development  of  the 
'right  to  the  office'  naturally  makes  it  more  difficult  to  stafiE  them  with 
regard  to  technical  efficiency,  for  such  a  development  decreases  the 
career-opportunities  of  ambitious  candidates  for  office.  This  makes  for 
the  fact  that  officials,  on  the  whole,  do  not  feel  their  dependency  upon 
those  at  the  top.  This  lack  of  a  feeling  of  dependency,  however,  rests 
primarily  upon  the  inclination  to  depend  upon  one's  equals  rather  than 
upon  the  socially  inferior  and  governed  strata.  The  present  conservative 
movement  among  the  Badenia  clergy,  occasioned  by  the  anxiety  of  a 
presumably  threatening  separation  of  church  and  state,  has  been  expressly 
determined  by  the  desire  not  to  be  turned  'from  a  master  into  a  servant 
of  the  parish.'  ^ 

4.  The  official  receives  the  regular  pecuniary  compensation  of  a  nor- 
mally fixed  salary  and  the  old  age  security  provided  by  a  pension.  The 
salary  is  not  measured  like  a  wage  in  terms  of  work  done,  but  accord- 
ing to  'status,'  that  is,  according  to  the  kind  of  function  (the  'rank')  and, 
in  addition,  possibly,  according  to  the  length  of  service.  The  relatively 
great  security  of  the  official's  income,  as  well  as  the  rewards  of  social 
esteem,  make  the  office  a  sought-after  position,  especially  in  countries 
which  no  longer  provide  opportunities  for  colonial  profits.  In  such 
countries,  this  situation  permits  relatively  low  salaries  for  officials. 

5.  The  official  is  set  for  a  'career'  within  the  hierarchical  order  of  the 
public  service.  He  moves  from  the  lower,  less  important,  and  lower  paid 
"to  the  higher  positions.  The  average  official  naturally  desires  a  mechani- 
cal fixing  of  the  conditions  of  promotion:  if  not  of  the  offices,  at  least  of 
the  salary  levels.  He  wants  these  conditions  fixed  in  terms  of  'seniority,' 
or  possibly  according  to  grades  achieved  in  a  developed  system  of  expert 
examinations.  Here  and  there,  such  examinations  actually  form  a  char- 
acter indelebilis  of  the  official  and  have  lifelong  effects  on  his  career.  To 
this  is  joined  the  desire  to  qualify  the  right  to  office  and  the  increasing 
tendency  toward  status  group  closure  and  economic  security.  All  of  this 
makes  for  a  tendency  to  consider  the  offices  as  'prebends'  of  those  who  are 

204  POWER 

qualified  by  educational  certificates.  The  necessity  o£  taking  general  per- 
sonal and  intellectual  qualifications  into  consideration,  irrespective  of  the 
often  subaltern  character  of  the  educational  certificate,  has  led  to  a  con- 
dition in  which  the  highest  political  offices,  especially  the  positions  of 
'ministers,'  are  principally  filled  without  reference  to  such  certificates. 

3:  The  Presuppositions  and  Causes  of  Bureaucracy 

The  social  and  economic  presuppositions  of  the  modern  structure  of 
the  office  are  as  follows: 

,,  The  development  of  the  money  economy,  in  so  far  as  a  pecuniary  com- 
pensation of  the  officials  is  concerned,  is  a  presupposition  of  bureaucracy. 
Today  it  not  only  prevails  but  is  predominant.  This  fact  is  of  very  great 
importance  for  the  whole  bearing  of  bureaucracy,  yet  by_  itself  it  is  by 
no  means  decisive  for  the  existence  of  bureaucracy. 

Historical  examples  of  rather  distinctly  developed  and  quantitatively 
large  bureaucracies  are:  (a)  Egypt,  during  the  period  of  the  new  Empire 
which,  however,  contained  strong  patrimonial  elements;  (b)  the  later 
Roman  Principate,  and  especially  the  Diocletian  monarchy  and  the 
Byzantine  polity  which  developed  out  of  it  and  yet  retained  strong 
feudal  and  patrimonial  elements;  (c)  the  Roman  Catholic  Church,  in- 
creasingly so  since  the  end  of  the  thirteenth  century;  (d)  China,  from 
the  time  of  Shi  Hwangti  until  the  present,  but  with  strong  patrimonial 
and  prebendal  elements;  (e)  in  ever  purer  forms,  the  modern  European 
states  and,  increasingly,  all  public  corporations  since  the  time  of  princely 
absolutism;  (f)  the  large  modern  capitalist  enterprise,  the  more  so  as  it 
becomes  greater  and  more  complicated. 

To  a  very  great  extent,  partly  even  predominantly,  cases  (a)  to  (d) 
have  rested  upon  compensation  of  the  officials  in  kind.  Yet  they  have 
displayed  many  other  traits  and  effects  characteristic  of  bureaucracy. 
The  historical  model  of  all  later  bureaucracies — the  new  Empire  of 
Egypt — is  at  the  same  time  one  of  the  most  grandiose  examples  of  an 
organized  subsistence  economy.  Yet  this  coincidence  of  bureaucracy  and 
subsistence  economy  is  understandable  in  view  of  the  quite  unique  con- 
ditions that  existed  in  Egypt.  And  the  reservations — and  they  are  quite 
considerable — which  one  must  make  in  classifying  this  Egyptian  struc- 
ture as  a  bureaucracy  are  conditioned  by  the  subsistence  economy.  A  cer- 
tain measure  of  a  developed  money  economy  is  the  normal  precondition 


for  the  unchanged  and  continued  existence,  if  not  for  the  estabUshment, 
of  pure  bureaucratic  administrations. 

According  to  historical  experience,  without  a  money  economy  the 
bureaucratic  structure  can  hardly  avoid  undergoing  substantial  internal 
changes,  or  indeed,  turning  into  another  type  of  structure.  The  allocation 
of  fixed  income  in  kind,  from  the  magazines  of  the  lord  or  from  his 
current  intake,  to  the  officials  easily  means  a  first  step  toward  appropria- 
tion of  the  sources  of  taxation  and  their  exploitation  as  private  property. 
This  kind  of  allocation  has  been  the  rule  in  Egypt  and  China  for  thou- 
sands of  years  and  played  an  important  part  in  the  later  Roman  mon- 
archy as  well  as  elsewhere.  The  income  in  kind  has  protected  the  official 
against  the  often  sharp  fluctuations  in  the  purchasing  power  of  money. 
Whenever  the  lord's  prerogatives  have  relaxed,  the  taxes  in  kind,  as  a 
rule,  have  been  irregular.  In  this  case,  the  official  has  direct  recourse  to 
the  tributaries  of  his  bailiwick,  whether  or  not  he  is  authorized.  Close 
at  hand  is  the  idea  of  securing  the  official  against  such  oscillations  by 
mortgaging  or  transferring  the  levies  and  therewith  the  power  to  tax, 
or  by  leasing  profitable  lands  of  the  lord  to  the  official  for  his  own  use. 
Every  central  authority  which  is  not  strictly  organized  is  tempted  to  take 
this  course  either  voluntarily  or  because  the  officials  compel  it  to  do  so. 
The  official  may  satisfy  himself  with  the  use  of  these  levies  or  loans  up 
to  the  level  of  his  salary  claim  and  then  hand  over  the  surplus.  This  im- 
pHes  strong  temptation  and  therefore  yields  results  chiefly  unsatisfactory 
to  the  lord.  Another  process  involves  fixing  the  official's  salary :  This  often 
occurred  in  the  early  history  of  German  officialdom;  and  it  happened  on 
the  largest  scale  in  all  Eastern  Satrap  administrations:  the  official  hands 
over  a  stipulated  amount  and  retains  the  surplus. 

In  such  cases  the  official  is  economically  in  a  position  rather  similar 
to  that  of  the  entrepreneurial  tax-farmer.  Indeed,  office-farming  including 
even  the  leasing  of  offices  to  the  highest  bidder  is  regularly  found.  On 
the  soil  of  a  private  economy,  the  transformation  of  the  statutes  of 
villeftiage  into  tenancy  relations  is  one  of  the  most  important  among 
numerous  examples.  By  tenancy  arrangements  the  lord  can  transfer  the 
trouble  of  changing  his  income-in-kind  into  money-income  to  the  office 
tenant  or  to  the  official  who  is  to  be  given  a  fixed  sum.  This  was  plainly 
the  case  with  some  Oriental  regents  in  Antiquity.  And  above  all,  the 
farming  out  of  public  collection  of  taxes  in  lieu  of  the  lord's  own  man- 
agement of  taxgathering  served  this  purpose.  From  this  procedure  there 
develops  the  possibility  for  the  lord  to  progress  in  the  ordering  of  his 

206 POWER 

finances  into  a  systematic  budget.  This  is  a  very  important  advance,  for 
it  means  that  a  fixed  estimate  of  the  income,  and  correspondingly  of  the 
expenses,  c^yi  taice  the  place  of  a  hand-to-mouth  living  from  incalculable 
incomes  in  kind,  a  condition  typical  of  all  the  early  states  of  public 
households.  On  the  other  hand,  in  systematizing  his  budget  in  this  w^ay, 
the  lord  renounces  the  control  and  full  exploitation  of  his  capacity  to  tax 
for  his  own  use.  According  to  the  measure  of  freedom  left  to  the  official, 
to  the  office,  or  to  the  tax-farmer,  the  lasting  capacity  to  pay  taxes  is  en- 
dangered by  inconsiderate  exploitation.  For,  unlike  the  political  overlord, 
the  capitalist  is  not  in  the  same  way  permanently  interested  in  the  sub- 
ject's ability  to  pay. 

The  lord  seeks  to  safeguard  himself  against  this  loss  of  control  by 
regulations.  The  mode  of  tax-farming  or  the  transfer  of  taxes  can  thus 
vary  widely,  according  to  the  distribution  of  power  between  the  lord 
and  the  tenant.  Either  the  tenant's  interest  in  the  free  exploitation  of  ca- 
pacity to  pay  taxes  or  the  lord's  interest  in  the  permanence  of  this 
capacity  prevails..  The  nature  of  the  tax-farming  system  rests  essentially 
upon  the  joint  or  the  opposing  influence  of  these  motives:  the  elimina- 
tion of  oscillations  in  the  yields,  the  possibility  of  a  budget,  the  safeguard- 
ing of  the  subjects'  capacity  to  pay  by  protecting  them  against  uneco- 
nomical exploitation,  and  a  state  control  of  the  tax-farmer's  yields  for  the 
sake  of  appropriating  the  maximum  possible.  In  the  Ptolemaic  empire,  as 
in  Hellas  and  in  Rome,  the  tax-farmer  was  still  a  private  capitalist.  The 
raising  of  taxes,  however,  was  bureaucratically  executed  and  controlled 
by  the  Ptolemaic  state.  The  tenant's  profit  consisted  in  only  a  share  of 
the  respective  surplus  over  and  above  the  tax-farmer's  fee,  which  was,  in 
fact,  only  a  guarantee.  The  tax-farmer's  risk  consisted  in  the  possibility 
of  yields  that  were  lower  than  this  sum. 

The  purely  economic  conception  of  the  office  as  a  source  of  the  official's 
private  income  can  also  lead  to  the  direct  purchase  of  offices.  This  occurs 
when  the  lord  finds  himself  in  a  position  in  which  he  requires  not  only 
a  current  income  but  money  capital — for  instance,  for  warfare  or  for 
debt  payments.  The  purchase  of  office  as  a  regular  institution  has  existed 
in  modern  states,  in  the  church  state  as  well  as  in  that  of  France  and 
England;  it  has  existed  in  the  cases  of  sinecures  as  well  as  of  very  serious 
offices;  and,  in  the  case  of  officers'  commissions,  it  lagged  over  until  the 
early  nineteenth  century.  In  individual  cases,  the  economic  meaning  of 
such  a  purchase  of  office  can  be  altered  so  that  the  purchasing  sum  is 


partly  or  wholly  in  the  nature  of  bail  deposited  for  faithful  service,  but 
this  has  not  been  the  rule. 

Every  sort  of  assignment  of  usufructs,  tributes  and  services  which  are 
due  to  the  lord  himself  or  to  the  official  for  personal  exploitation,  always 
means  a  surrender  of  the  pure  type  of  bureaucratic  organization.  The 
official  in  such  positions  has  a  personal  right  to  the  possession  of  his 
office.  This  is  the  case  to  a  still  higher  degree  when  official  duty  and 
compensation  are  interrelated  in  such  a  way  that  the  official  does  not 
transfer  to  the  lord  any  yields  gained  from  the  objects  left  to  him,  but 
handles  these  objects  for  his  private  ends  and  in  turn  renders  to  the 
lord  services  of  a  personal  or  a  military,  political,  or  ecclesiastical 

We  wish  to  speak  of  'prebends'  and  of  a  'prebendal'  organization  -of 
office,  wherever  the  lord  assigns  to  the  official  rent  payments  for  life, 
payments  which  are  somehow  fixed  to  objects  or  which  are  essentially  I 
economic  usufruct  from  lands  or  other  sources.  They  must  be  compensa-  I 
tions  for  the  fulfilment  of  actual  or  fictitious  office  duties;  they  are  goods  f 
permanently  set  aside  for  the  economic  assurance  of  the  office. 

The  transition  from  such  prebendal  organization  of  office  to  salaried 
officialdom  is  quite  fluid.  Very  often  the  economic  endowment  of  priest- 
hoods has  been  'prebendal,'  as  in  Antiquity  and  the  Middle  Ages,  and 
even  up  to  the  modern  period.  But  in  almost  all  periods  the  same  form 
has  been  found  in  other  areas.  In  Chinese  sacerdotal  law,  the  prebendal 
character  of  all  offices  forced  the  mourning  official  to  resign  his  office. 
For  during  the  ritual  mourning  period  for  the  father  or  other  household 
authorities  abstention  from  the  enjoyment  of  possessions  was  prescribed. 
Originally  this  prescription  was  aimed  at  avoiding  the  ill-will  of  the 
deceased  master  of  the  house,  for  the  house  belonged  to  this  master  and 
the  office  was  considered  purely  as  a  prebend,  a  source  for  rent. 

When  not  only  ecpnomic  rights  but  also  lordly  prerogatives  are  leased 
for  personal  execution  with  the  stipulation  of  personal  services  to  the 
lord,  a  further  step  away  from  salaried  bureaucracy  is  taken.  These 
leased  prerogatives  vary;  for  instance,  with  the  political  official,  they 
may  be  in  the  nature  of  landlordism  or  in  the  nature  of  office  authority. 
In  both  instances,  and  certainly  in  the  latter,  the  specific  nature  of  bureau- 
cratic organization  is  completely  destroyed  and  we  enter  the  organiza- 
tional realm  of  feudal  dominion.  All  kinds  of  assignments  of  services 
and  usufructs  in  kind  as  endowments  for  officials  tend  to  loosen  the 
bureaucratic  mechanism,  and  especially  to  weaken  hierarchic  subordina- 

208  POWER 

tion.  This  subordination  is  most  strictly  developed  in  the  discipline  of 
modern  officialdom.  A  precision  similar  to  the  precision  of  the  con- 
tractually employed  official  of  the  modern  Occident  can  only  be  attained 
— at  least  under  very  energetic  leadership — where  the  subjection  of  the 
officials  to  the  lord  is  personally  absolute,  where  slaves,  or  employees 
treated  like  slaves,  are  used  for  administration. 

The  Egyptian  officials  were  slaves  of  the  Pharaoh,  if  not  legally,  at 
least  in  fact.  The  Roman  latifundia  owners  liked  to  commission  slaves 
with  the  direct  management  of  money  matters,  because  of  the  possibility 
of  subjecting  them  to  torture.  In  China,  similar  results  have  been  sought 
by  the  prodigial  use  of  the  bamboo  as  a  disciplinary  instrument.  The 
chances,  however,  for  such  direct  means  of  coercion  to  function  with 
steadiness  are  extremely  unfavorable.  According  to  experience,  the  rela- 
tive optimum  for  the  success  and  maintenance  of  a  strict  mechanization 
of  the  bureaucratic  apparatus  is  offered  by  a  secured  money  salary  con- 
nected with  the  opportunity  of  a  career  that  is  not  dependent  upon  mere 
accident  and  arbitrariness.  Strict  discipline  and  -control,  which  at  the  same 
time  has  consideration  for  the  official's  sense  of  honor,  and  the  develop- 
ment of  prestige  sentiments  of  the  status  group,  as  well  as  the  possibility 
of  public  criticism,  work  in  the  direction  of  strict  mechanization.  With 
all  this,  the  bureaucratic  apparatus  functions  more  assuredly  than  does 
any  legal  enslavement  of  functionaries.  A  strong  status  sentiment  among 
officials  not  only  agrees  with  the  official's  readiness  to  subordinate  him- 
self to  the  chief  without  any  will  of  his  own,  but — just  as  is  the  case  with 
the  officer — status  sentiments  are  the  consequence  of  such  subordination, 
for  internally  they  balance  the  official's  self-feeling.  The  purely  imper- 
sonal character  of  office  work,  with  its  principled  separation  of  the  private 
sphere  of  the  official  from  that  of  the  office,  facilitates  the  official's  inte- 
gration into  the  given  functional  conditions  of  a  fixed  mechanism  based 
upon  discipline. 

Even  though  the  full  development  of  a  money  economy  is  not  an 
indispensable  precondition  for  bureaucratization,  bureaucracy  as  a  perma- 
nent structure  is  knit  to  the  one  presupposition  of  a  constant  income  for 
maintaining  it.  Where  such  an  income  cannot  be  derived  from  private 
profits,  as  is  the  case  with  the  bureaucratic  organization  of  large  modern 
enterprises,  or  from  fixed  land  rents,  as  with  the  manor,  a  stable  system 
of  taxation  is  the  precondition  for  the  permanent  existence  of  bureau- 
cratic administration.  For  well-known  and  general  reasons,  only  a  fully 
developed  money  economy  offers  a  secure  basis  for  such  a  taxation  sys- 


tern.  The  degree  of  administrative  bureaucratization  in  urban  communi- 
ties with  fully  developed  money  economies  has  not  infrequently  been 
relatively  greater  in  the  contemporary  far  larger  states  of  plains.  Yet 
as  soon  as  these  plain  states  have  been  able  to  develop  orderly  systems 
of  tribute,  bureaucracy  has  developed  more  comprehensively  than  in 
city  states.  Whenever  the  size  of  the  city  states  has  remained  confined 
to  moderate  limits,  the  tendency  for  a  plutocratic  and  collegial  adminis- 
tration by  notables  has  corresponded  most  adequately  to  their  structure. 

4:  The  Quantitative  Development  of  AnMiNisTRATunE  Tasks 

The  proper  soil  for  the  bureaucratization  of  an  administration  has  al- 
ways been  the  specific  developments  of  administrative  tasks.  We  shall 
first  discuss  the  quantitative  extension  of  such  tasks.  In  the  field  of 
politics,  the  great  state  and  the  mass  party  are  the  classic  soil  for  bureau- 

This  does  not  mean  that  every  historically  known  and  genuine  forma- 
tion of  great  states  has  brought  about  a  bureaucratic  administration.  The 
permanence  of  a  once-existing  great  state,  or  the  homogeneity  of  a  culture 
borne  by  such  a  state,  has  not  always  been  attached  to  a  bureaucratic 
structure  of  state.  However,  both  of  these  features  have  held  to  a  great  ex- 
tent, for  instance,  in  the  Chinese  empire.  The  numerous  great  Negro  em- 
pires, and  similar  formations,  have  had  only  an  ephemerital  existence 
primarily  because  they  have  lacked  an  apparatus  of  officials.  And  the 
unity  of  the  Carolingian  empire  disintegrated  when  its  organization  of 
officials  disintegrated.  This  organization,  however,  was  predominantly 
patrimonial  rather  than  bureaucratic  in  nature.  From  a  purely  temporal 
view,  however,  the  empire  of  the  Caliphs  and  its  predecessors  on  Asiatic 
soil  have  lasted  for  considerable  periods  of  time,  and  their  organization 
of  office  was  essentially  patrimonial  and  prebendal.  Also,  the  Holy  Roman 
Empire  lasted  for  a  long  time  in  spite  of  the  almost  complete  absence 
of  bureaucracy.  All  these  realms  have  represented  a  cultural  unity  of  at 
least  approximately  the  same  strength  as  is  usually  created  by  bureau- 
cratic polities. 

The  ancient  Roman  Empire  disintegrated  internally  in  spite  of  in- 
creasing bureaucratization  and  even  during  its  very  execution.  This  was 
because  of  the  way  the  tax  burdens  were  distributed  by  the  bureaucratic 
state,  which  favored  the  subsistence  economy.  Viewed  with  regard  to  the 
intensity  of  their  purely  political  unities,  the  temporal  existences  of  the 

210  POWER 

empires  o£  the  Caliphs,  CaroHngian  and  other  medieval  emperors  were 
essentially  unstable,  nominal,  and  cohesive  conglomerates.  On  the  whole, 
the  capacity  for  political  action  steadily  diminished,  and  the  relatively 
great  unity  of  culture  flowed  from  ecclesiastic  structures  that  were  in  part 
strictly  unified  and,  in  the  Occidental  Middle  Ages,  increasingly  bureau- 
cratic in  character.  The  unity  of  their  cultures  resulted  partly  from  the 
far-going  homogeneity  of  their  social  structures,  which  in  turn  was  the 
aftermath  and  transformation  of  their  former  political  unity.  Both  are 
phenomena  of  the  traditional  stereotyping  of  culture,  which  favors  an 
unstable  equilibrium.  Both  of  these  factors  proved  so  strong  a  foundation 
that  even  grandiose  attempts  at  expansion,  such  as  the  Crusades,  could  be 
undertaken  in  spite  of  the  lack  of  intensive  poUtical  unity;  they  were, 
one  might  say,  performed  as  'private  undertakings.'  The  failure  of  the 
Crusades  and  their  often  irrational  political  course,  however,  is  associated 
with  the  absence  of  a  unified  and  intensive  state  power  to  back  them  up. 
And  there  is  no  doubt  that  the  nuclei  of  intensive  'modern'  states  in 
the  Middle  Ages  developed  concomitantly  with  bureaucratic  structures. 
Furthermore,  in  the  end  these  quite  bureaucratic  political  structures 
undoubtedly  shattered  the  social  conglomerates,  which  rested  essentially 
upon  unstable  equilibriums. 

The  disintegration  of  the  Roman  Empire  was  partly  conditioned  by 
the  very  bureaucratization  of  its  army  and  official  apparatus.  This  bu- 
reaucratization could  only  be  realized  by  carrying  through  at  the  same 
time  a  method  of  taxation  which  by  its  distribution  of  burdens  was 
bound  to  lead  to  relative  increase  in  the  importance  of  a  subsistence 
economy.  Individual  factors  of  this  sort  always  enter  the  picture.  Also 
the  'intensity'  of  the  external  and  the  internal  state  activities  play  their 
part.  Quite  apart  from  the  relation  between  the  state  influence  upon  cul- 
ture and  the  degree  of  bureaucratization,  it  may  be  said  that  'normally' — 
though  not  without  exception — the  vigor  to  expand  is  directly  related  to 
the  degree  of  bureaucratization.  For  two  of  the  most  expansive  polities, 
the  Roman  Empire  and  the  British  world  empire,  during  their  most  ex- 
pansive periods,  rested  upon  bureaucratic  foundations  only  to  a  small 
extent.  The  Norman  state  in  England  carried  through  a  strict  organiza- 
tion on  the  basis  of  a  feudal  hierarchy.  To  a  large  extent,  it  received  its 
unity  and  its  push  through  the  bureaucratization  of  the  royal  exchequer, 
which,  in  comparison  to  other  political  structures  of  the  feudal  period, 
was  extremely  strict.  Later  on,  the  English  state  did  not  share  in  the 
continental   development  towards  bureaucratization,  but   remained   an 


administration  of  notables.  Just  as  in  the  republican  administration  of 
Rome,  this  English  rule  by  notables  was  a  result  of  the  relative  absence 
of  a  continental  character,  as  well  as  of  absolutely  unique  preconditions, 
which  at  the  present  time  are  disappearing.  The  dispensability  of  the 
large  standing  armies,  which  a  continental  state  with  equally  expansive 
tendencies  requires  for  its  land  frontiers,  is  among  these  special  pre- 
conditions. In  Rome,  bureaucratization  advanced  with  the  transition 
from  a  coastal  to  a  continental  ring  of  frontiers.  For  the  rest,  in  the 
domination  structure  of  Rome,  the  strictly  military  character  of  the 
magistrate  authorities — in  the  Roman  manner  unknown  to  any  other 
people — made  up  for  the  lack  of  a  bureaucratic  apparatus  with  its  tech- 
nical efficiency,^  its  precision  and  unity  of  administrative  functions, 
especially  outside  the  city  limits.  The  continuity  of  administration  was 
safeguarded  by  the  unique  position  of  the  Senate.  In  Rome,  as  in  Eng- 
land, one  presupposition  for  this  dispensability  of  bureaucracy  which 
should  not  be  forgotten  was  that  the  state  authorities  increasingly  'mini- 
mized' the  scope  of  their  functions  at  home.  They  restricted  their  func- 
tions to  what  was  absolutely  demanded  for  direct  'reasons  of  state.' 

At  the  beginning  of  the  modern  period,  all  the  prerogatives  of  the 
continental  states  accumulated  in  the  hands  of  those  princes  who  most 
relentlessly  took  the  course  of  administrative  bureaucratization.  It  is  obvi- 
ous that  technically  the  great  modern  state  is  absolutely  dependent  upon 
a  bureaucratic  basis.  The  larger  the  state,  and  the  more  it  is  or  the  more 
it  becomes  a  great  power  state,  the  more  unconditionally  is  this  the  case. 

The  United  States  still  bears  the  character  of  a  polity  which,  at  least 
in  the  technical  sense,  is  not  fully  bureaucratized.  But  the  greater  the 
zones  of  friction  with  the  outside  and  the  more  urgent  the  needs  for 
administrative  unity  at  home  become,  the  more  this  character  is  inevita- 
bly and  gradually  giving  way  formally  to  the  bureaucratic  structure. 
Moreover,  the  partly  unbureaucratic  form  of  the  state  structure  of  the 
United  States  is  materially  balanced  by  the  more  strictly  bureaucratic 
structures  of  those  formations  which,  in  truth,  dominate  politically, 
namely,  the  parties  under  the  leadership  of  professionals  or  experts  in 
organization  and  election  tactics.  The  increasingly  bureaucratic  organi- 
zation of  all  genuine  mass  parties  offers  the  most  striking  example  of 
the  role  of  sheer  quantity  as  a  leverage  for  the  bureaucratization  of  a  " 
social  structure.  In  Germany,  above  all,  the  Social  Democratic  party,  and 
abroad  both  of  the  'historical'  American  parties  are  bureaucratic  in  the 
greatest  possible  degree. 

212  POWER 

5:  Qualitative  Changes  of  Administrative  Tasks 

Bureaucratization    is    occasioned    more   by    intensive   and   qualitative 
enlargement  and  internal  deployment   of  the   scope  of  administrative 
!    tasks  than  by  their  extensive  and  quantitative  increase.  But  the  direction 
\[  bureaucratization  takes  and  the  reasons  that  occasion  it  vary  widely. 
In  Egypt,  the  oldest  country  of  bureaucratic  state  administration,  the 
public  and  collective  regulation  of  waterways  for  the  whole  country 
and  from  the  top  could  not  be  avoided  because  of  technical  economic 
factors.  This  regulation  created  the  mechanism  of  scribes  and  officials. 
Once  established,  this  mechanism,  even  in  early  times,  found  its  second 
realm  of  business  in  the  extraordinary  construction  activities  which  were 
organized  militarily.  As  mentioned  before, 'the  bureaucratic  tendency  has 
chiefly  been  influenced  by  needs  arising  from  the  creation  of  standing 
*-*«'!    armies  as  determined  by  power  politics  and  by  the  development  of  pub- 
lic finance  connected  with  the  military  establishment.  In  the  modern 
state,  the  increasing  demands  for  administration  rest  on  the  increasing 
complexity  of  civilization  and  push  towards  bureaucratization. 

Very  considerable  expansions,  especially  overseas,  have,  of  course,  been 
managed  by  states  ruled  by  notables  (Rome,  England,  Venice),  as  will 
.  become  evident  in  the  appropriate  context.  Yet  the  .'.inteJlsity'  of  the 
administration,  that  is,  the  transfer  of  as  many  tasks  as  possible  to  the 
organization  of  the  state  proper  for  continuous  management  and  dis- 
charge, has  been  only  slightly  developed  among  the  great  states  ruled 
,    by  notables,  especially  Rome  and  England,  if  we  compare  them  with 
!jj^  bureaucratic  polities. 

Both  in  notable  and  bureaucratic  administrations  the  structure  of  state 
''ti  power  has  influenced  culture  very  strongly.  But  it  has  done  so  relatively 
slightly  in  the  form  of  management  and  control  by  the  state.  This  holds 
from  justice  down  to  education.  The  growing  demands  on  culture,  in 
turn,  are  determined,  though  to  a  varying  extent,  by  the  growing  wealth 
of  the  most  influential  strata  in  the  state.  To  this  extent  increasing 
bureaucratization  is  a  function  of  the  increasing  possession  of  goods  used 
for  consumption,  and  of  an  increasingly  sophisticated  technique  of  fash- 
ioning external  life — a  technique  which  corresponds  to  the  opportunities 
provided  by  such  wealth.  This  reacts  upon  the  standard  of  living  and 
^'  makes  for  an  increasing  subjective  indispensability  of  organized,  collec- 
tive, inter-local,  and  thus  bureaucratic,  provision  for  the  most  varied 



wants,  which  previously  were  either  unknown,  or  were  satisfied  locally 
or  by  a  private  economy. 

Among  purely  political  factors,  the  increasing  demand  of  a  society, 
accustomed  to  absolute  pacification,  for  order  and  protection  ('police') 
in  all  fields  exerts  an  especially  persevering  influence  in  the  direction  of 
bureaucratization.  A  steady  road  leads  from  modifications  of  the  blood 
feud,  sacerdotally,  or  by  means  of  arbitration,  to  the  present  position  of 
the  poHceman  as  the  'representative  of  God  on  earth.'  The  former  means 
placed  the  guarantees  for  the  individual's  rights  and  security  squarely 
upon  the  members  of  his  sib,  who  are  obligated  to  assist  him  with  oath 
and  vengeance.  Amon^  other  factors,  primarily  the  manifold  tasks  of  the 
so-called  'policy  of  social  welfare',  operate  in  the  direction  of  bureaucrati-*"""* 
zation,  for  these  tasks  are,  in  part,  saddled  upon  the  state  by  interest 
groups  and,  in  part,  the  state  usurps  them,  either  for  reasons  of  power 
policy  or  for  ideological  motives.  Of  course,  these  tasks  are  to  a  large 
extent  economically  determined. 

Among  essentially  technical  factors,  the  specifically  modern  means  of 
communication  enter  the  picture  as  pacemakers  of  bureaucratization. 
Public  land  and  water-ways,  railroads,  the  telegraph,  et  cetera — they  must, 
in  part,  necessarily  be  administered  in  a  public  and  collective  way;  in 
part,  such  administration  is  technically  expedient.  In  this  respect,  the 
contemporary  means  of  communication  frequently  play  a  role  similar 
to  that  of  the  canals  of  Mesopotamia  and  the  regulation  of  the  Nile  in 
the  ancient  Orient.  The  degree  to  which  the  means  of  communication 
have  been  developed  is  a  condition  of  decisive  importance  for  the  pos- 
sibihty  of  bureaucratic  administration,  although  it  is  not  the  only  decisive 
condition.  Certainly  in  Egypt,  bureaucratic  centralization,  on  the  basis 
of  an  almost  pure  subsistence  economy,  could  never  have  reached  the 
actual  degree  which  it  did  without  the  natural  trade  route  of  the  Nile. 
In  order  to  promote  bureaucratic  centralization  in  modern  Persia,  the 
telegraph  officials  were  officially  commissioned  with  reporting  all  occur- 
rences in  the  provinces  to  the  Shah,  over  the  heads  of  the  local  authori- 
ties. In  addition,  everyone  received  the  right  to  remonstrate  directly  by 
telegraph.  The  modern  Occidental  state  can  be  administered  the  way  it 
actually  is  only  because  the  state  controls  the  telegraph  network  and  has  — 
the  mails  and  railroads  at  its  disposal. 

Railroads,  in  turn,  are  intimately  connected  with  the  development  of 
an  inter-local  traffic  of  mass  goods.  This  traffic  is  among  the  causal  fac- 

214  POWER 

tors  in  the  formation  of  the  modern  state.  As  we  have  already  seen,  this 
does  not  hold  unconditionally  for  the  past. 

6:  Technical  Advantages  of  Bureaucratic  Organization 

k     The  decisive  reason  for  the  advance  of  bureaucratic  organization  has 
/  i  always  been  its  purely  technical   superiority  over   any  other  form  of 
r  I'lOrganization.   The   fully   developed   bureaucratic   mechamsSTTompares 
with  other  organizations  exactly  as  does  the  machine  with  the  non- 
mechanical  modes  of  production. 

Precision,  speed,  unambiguity,  knowledge  of  the  files,  continuity,  dis- 
cretion, unity,  strict  subordination,  reduction  of  friction  and  of  material 
and  personal  costs — these  are  raised  to  the  optimum  point  in  the  stric^ 
bureaucratic  administration,  and  especially  in  its  monocratic  form.  As 
compared  with  all  collegiate,  honorific,  and  avocational  forms  of  admin- 
istration, trained  bureaucracy  is  superior  on  all  these  points.  And  as  far 
as  complicated  tasks  are  concerned,  paid  bureaucratic  work  is  not  only 
more  precise  but,  in  the  last  analysis,  it  is  often  cheaper  than  even  for- 
mally unrernunerated  honorific  service.  .  ^ 

Honorific  arrangements  make  administrative  work  an  avocation  and, 
for  this  reason  alone,  honorific  service  normally  functions  more  slowly; 
being  less  bound  to  schemata  and  being  more  formless.  Hence  it  is  less 
precise  and  less  unified  than  bureaucratic  work  because  it  is  less  depend- 
ent upon  superiors  and  because  the  establishment  and  exploitation  of 
the  apparatus  of  subordinate  officials  and  filing  services  are  almost  un- 
avoidably less  economical.  Honorific  service  is  less  continuous  than 
bureaucratic  and  frequently  quite  expensive.  This  is  especially  the  case 
if  one  thinks  not  only  of  the  money  costs  to  the  public  treasury — costs 
which  bureaucratic  administration,  in  comparison  with  administration 
by  notables,  usually  substantially  increases — but  also  of  the  frequent 
economic  losses  of  the  governed  caused  by  delays  and  lack  of  precision. 

"^ — r  The  possibility  of  administration  by  notables  normally  and  permanently 
exists  only  where  official  management  can  be  satisfactorily  discharged  as 

(,.  an  avocation.  With  the  qualitative  increase  of  tasks  the  administration 

I  has  to  face,  administration  by  notables  reaches  its  limits — today,  even  in 
England.  Work  organized  by  collegiate  bodies  causes  friction  and  delay 
and  requires  compromises  between  colliding  interests  and  views.  The 
administration,  therefore,  runs  less  precisely  and  is  more  independent  of 
superiors;  hence,  it  is  less  unified  and  slower.  All  advances  of  the  Prus- 


sian  administrative  organization  have  been  and  will  in  the  future  be 
advances  of  the  bureaucratic,  and  especially  of  the  monocratic,  principle. 
1  Today,  it  is  primarily  the  capitalist  market  economy  which  demands  ^, 
that  the  official  business  of  the  administration  be  discharged  precisely, 
unambiguously,  continuously,  and  with  as  much  speed  as  possible,  Nor- 
mally,  the  very"Targe,  "modem  capitalist  enterprises  are  themselves  un- 
equalled models  of  strict  bureaucratic  organization.  Business  manage- 
ment throughout  rests  on  increasing  precision,  steadiness,  and,  above  all, 
the  speed  of  operations.  This,  in  turn,  is  determined  by  the  peculiar 
nature  of  the  modern  means  of  communication,  including,  among  other 
things,  the  news  service  of  the  press.  The  extraordinary  increase  in  the 
speed  by  which  public  announcements,  as  well  as  economic  and  political 
facts,  are  transmitted  exerts  a  steady  and  sharp  pressure  in  the  direction 
of  speeding  up  the  tempo  of  administrative  reaction  towards  various 
situations.  The  optimum  of  such  reaction  time  is  normally  attained  only 
by  a  strictly  bureaucratic  organization.* 

Bureaucratization  offers  above  all  the  optimum  possibility  for  carrying 
through  the  principle  of  specializing  administrative  functions  according 
to  purely  objective  considerations.  Individual  performances  are  allocated 
to  functionaries  who  have  specialized  training  and  who  by  constant 
practice  learn  more  and  more.  The_ 'objective'  discharge  of  business^ri- 
marily  means  a  discharge  of  business  according  to  calculable  rules  and 
*witTiout  regard  tor  persons.' 

'Without  regard  for  persons'  is  also  the  watchword  of  the  'market' 
and,  in  general,  of  all  pursuits  of  naked  economic  interests.  A  consistent 
execution  of  bureaucratic  domination  means  the  leveling  of  status 
'honor.'  Hence,  if  the  principle  of  the  free-market  is  not  at  the  same 
time  restricted,  it  means  the  universal  domination  of  the  'class  situation.' 
That  this  consequence  of  bureaucratic  domination  has  not  set  in  every- 
where, parallel  to  the  extent  of  bureaucratization,  is  due  to  the  differences 
among  possible  principles  by  which  polities  may  meet  their  demands. 

The  second  element  mentioned,  'cakulable  rules,'  also  is  of  paramount  ^ 
importance  for  modern  bureaucracy.  The  peculiarity  of  modern  culture,  *|'. 
and  specifically  of  its  technical  and  economic  basis,  demands  this  very|ij 
'calculability'  of  results.  When  fully  developed,  bureaucracy  also  stands, 
in  a  specific  sense,  under  the  principle  of  sine  ira  ac  studio.  Its  specific 

*  Here  we  cannot  discuss  in  detail  how  the  bureaucratic  apparatus  may,  and  actually 
does,  produce  definite  obstacles  to  the  discharge  of  business  in  a  manner  suitable  for  the 
single  case. 

2l6  POWER 

nature,  which  is  welcomed  by  capitaHsm,  develops  the  more  perfectly 
the  more  the  bureaucracy  is  'dehumanized,'  the  more  completely  it^ suc- 
ceeds in  eliminating  from  official  business  love,  hatred,  and  all  purely 
personal,  irrational,  and  emotional  elements  which  escape  calculation. 
This  is  the  specific  nature  of  bureaucracy  and  it  is  appraised  as  its  special 

The  more  complicated  and  specialized  modern  culture  becomes^  the 
more  its  external  supporting  apparatus  demands  the  personally  detached^ 
and  strictly  'objective'  expert,  in  lieu  of  the  master  of  older  social  struc- 
tures, who  was  moved  by  personal  sympathy  and  favor,  by  grace  and 
gratitude.  Bureaucracy  offers  the  attitudes  demanded  by  the  external 
apparatus  of  modern  culture  in  the  most  favorable  combination.  As  a 
i  rule,  only  bureaucracy  has  established  the  foundation  for  the  adminis- 
j  tration  of  a  rational  law  conceptually  systematized  on  the  basis  of  such 
'  enactments  as  the  latter  Roman  imperial  period  first  created  with  a  high 
degree  of  technical  perfection.  During  the  Middle  Ages,  this  law  wa« 
received  along  with  the  bureaucratization  of  legal  administration,  that 
is  to  say,  with  the  displacement  of  the  old  trial  procedure  which  was 
bound  to  tradition  or  to  irrational  presuppositions,  by   the   rationally 
trained  and  specialized  expert. 

7:  Bureaucracy  and  Law 

The  'rational'  interpretation  of  law  on  the  basis  of  strictly  formal  con- 
ceptions stands  opposite  the  kind  of  adjudication  that  is  primarily  bound 
to  sacred  traditions.  The  single  case  that  cannot  be  unambiguously  de- 
cided by  tradition  is  either  settled  by  concrete  'revelation'  (oracle,  pro- 
phetic dicta,  or  ordeal — that  is,  by  'charismatic'  justice)  or — and  only 
these  cases  interest  us  here— fby  informal  judgments  rendered  in  terms 
,  of  concrete  ethical  or  other  practical  valuations.  This  is  'Kadi-justice,'  as 
R.  Schmidt  has  fittingly  called  it.  Or,  formal  judgments  are  rendered, 
though  not  by  subsumption  under  rational  concepts,  but  by  drawing  on 
'analogies'  and  by  depending  upon  and  interpreting  concrete  'prece- 
dents.' This  is  'empirical  justicej' 

Kadi-justice  knows  no  reasoned  judgment  whatever.  Nor  docs  em- 
pirical justice  of  the  pure  type  give  any  reasons  which  in  our  sense  could 
be  called  rational.  The  concrete  valuational  character  of  Kadi-justice  can 
advance  to  a  prophetic  break  with  all  tradition.  Empirical  justice,  on  the 
other  hand,  can  be  sublimated  and  rationalized  into  a  'technology,'  All 


rion-bureaucratic  forms  of  domination  display  a  peculiar  coexistence:  on/ 
the  one  hand,  there  is  a  sphere  of  strict  traditionalism,  and,  on  the  other,; 
a  sphere  of  free  arbitrariness  and  lordly  grace.  Therefore,  combinationsll 
and  transitional  forms  between  these  two  principles  are  very  frequent; 
they  will  be  discussed  in  another  context. 

Even  today  in  England,  as  Mendelssohn  has  demonstrated,  a  broad 
substratum  of  justice  is  actually  Kadi-justice  to  an  extent  that  is  hardly 
conceivable  on  the  Continent.  The  justice  of  German  juries  which  pre- 
clude a  statement  of  the  reasons  for  their  verdict  often  functions  in  prac- 
tice in  the  same  way  as  this  EngUsh  justice.  In  general,  one  has  to  be- 
ware pf^beHeving^  that  'democratic'  principles  of  justice  are  identical  with 
'rational'  adjudication  (in  the  sense  of  formal  rationality).  Indeed,  the 
contrary  holds,  as  will  be  shown  in  another  context.  The  English  and 
American  adjudication  of  the  highest  courts  is  still  to  a  great  extent 
empirical;  and  especially  is  it  adjudication  by  precedents.  In  England, 
the  reason  for  the  failure  of  all  efforts  at  a  rational  codification  of  law, 
as  well  as  the  failure  to  borrow  Roman  law,  was  due  to  the  successful 
resistance  against  such  rationalization  offered  by  the  great  and  centrally 
organized  lawyers'  guilds.  These  guilds  formed  a  monopolistic  stratum 
of  notables  from  whose  midst  the  judges  of  the  high  courts  of  the  realm 
were  recruited.  They  retained  in  their  hands  juristic  training  as  an 
empirical  and  highly  developed  technology,  and  they  successfully  fought 
all  moves  towards  rational  law  that  threatened  their  social  and  material 
position.  Such  moves  came  especially  from  the  ecclesiastical  courts  and, 
for  a  time,  also  from  the  universities. 

The  fight  of  the  common  law  advocates  against  the  Roman  and 
ecclesiastical  law  and  the  power  of  the  church  in  general  was  to  a  consid- 
erable degree  economically  caused  by  the  lawyer's  interest  in  fees;  this  is 
distinctly  evidenced  by  the  way  in  which  the  king  intervened  in  this 
struggle.  But  the  power  position  of  the  lawyers,  who  emerged  victori- 
ously from  this  struggle,  was  conditioned  by  political  centralization.  In 
Germany,  primarily  for  political  reasons,  a  socially  powerful  estate  of 
notables  was  lacking.  There  was  no  estate  which,  like  the  English  law- 
yers, could  have  been  the  carriers  of  a  national  administration  of  law, 
which  could  have  raised  national  law  to  the  level  of  a  technology  with 
regulated  apprenticeship,  and  which  could  have  offered  resistance  to  the 
intrusion  of  the  technically  superior  traming  of  jurists  in  Roman  law. 
\  That  fact  that  Roman  law  was  substantively  better  adjusted  to  the 
>  needs  of  emerging  capitalism  did  not  decide  its  victory  on  the  Continent. 

21 8  POWER 

All  legal  institutions  specific  for  modern  capitalism  are  alien  to  Roman 
law  and  are  medieval  in  origin.  What  was  decisive  was  the  rational 
form  of  Roman  law  and,  above  all,  the  technical  necessity  to  place  the 
trial  procedure  in  the  hands  of  rationally  trained  experts,  which  meant 
men  trained  in  the  universities  and  learned  in  Roman  law.  This  training 
was  necessary  because  the  increasing  complexity  of  practical  legal  cases 
'  and  the  increasingly  ^Rationalized  economy  demanded^  a  rational  proce- 
_^  tclure  of  evidence*rather  than  the  ascertainment  of  true  facts  by  concrete 
revelation  or  sacerdotal  guarantee,  which,  of  course,  are  the  ubiquitous 
and  primeval  means  of  proof.  This  legal  situation  was  also  determined 
to  a  large  extent  by  structural  changes  in  the  economy.  This  factor,  how- 
ever,  was  efficacious  everywhere,  including  England,  where  the  royal 
power  introduced  the  rational  procedure  of  evidence  for  the  sake  of  the 
merchants.  The  predominant  reasons  for  the  differences,  which  still 
exist,  in  the  development  of  substantive  law  in  England  and  Germany 
do  not  rest  upon  this  economic  Jactor.  As  is  already  obvious,  these  differ- 
ences have  sprung  from  the  lawfully  autonomous  development  of  the 
respective  structures  of  domination. 

In  England  centralized  justice  and  notable  rule  have  been  associated; 
in  Germany,  at  the  same  time,  there  is  bureaucratization  and  an  absence 
of  political  centralization.  England,  which  in  modern  times  was  the  first 
and  most  highly  developed  capitalist  country,  thereby  retained  a  less 
rational  and  less  bureaucratic  judicature.  Capitalism  in  England,  how- 
ever, could  quite  easily  come  to  terms  with  this,  especially  because  the 
nature  of  the  court  constitution  and  of  the  trial  procedure  up  to  the  mod- 
ern period  amounted  in  effect  to  a  far-going  denial  of  justice  to  the  eco- 
nomically weak  group?.  This  fact  exerted  a  profound  influence  upon  the 
distribution  of  landholdings  in  England  by  favoring  the  accumulation 
and  immobilization  of  landed  wealth.  The  length  and  expense  of  real 
estate  transfers,  determined  by  the  economic  interests  of  the  lawyers,  also 
worked  in  the  same  direction. 

During  the  time  of  the  Republic,  Roman  law  represented  a  unique 
mixture  of  rational  and  empirical  elements,  and  even  of  elements  of 
Kadi-justice.  The  appointment  of  a  jury  as  such,  and  the  praetor's 
actiones  in  factum,  which  at  first  undoubtedly  occurred  'from  one  given 
case  to  another,'  contained  an  element  of  Kadi-justice.  The  baihng  system 
of  Roman  justice  and  all  that  grew  out  of  it,  including  even  a  part  of  the 
classic  jurists'  practice  of  responses,  bore  an  'empirical'  character.  The 
decisive  turn  of  juridical  thought  toward  rational  thinking  was  first  pre- 


pared  by  the  technical  nature  of  the  instruction  for  trial  procedure  at 
the  hands  of  the  praetorian  edict's  formula,  which  were  geared  to  legal 
conceptions.  Today,  under  the  dominance  of  the  principle  of  substantia- 
tion, the  presentation  of  facts  is  decisive,  no  matter  from  what  legal  point 
of  view  they  may  make  the  complaint  seem  justified.  A  similar  compul- 
sion to  bring  out  the  scope  of  the  concepts  unambiguously  and  formally 
is  now  lacking;  but  such  a  compulsion  was  produced  by  the  technical 
culture  of  Roman  law  at  its  very  height.  Technical  factors  of  trial  pro- 
cedure thus  played  their  part  in  the  development  of  rational  law,  factors 
which  resulted  only  indirectly  from  the  structure  of  the  state.  The  ration- 
alization_of_Rom^ri  law  into  a  closed  system  of  concepts  to  be  scientifi- 
cally handled  was  brought  to  perfection  only  during  the  period  when 
the  polity  itself  underwent  bureaucratization.  This  rational  and  system- 
atic quality  sets  off  Roman  law  sharply  from  all  law  produced  by  tKe'^ 
Orient  or  by  Hellenic  Greece. 

The  rabbinic  responses  of  the  Talmud  is  a  typical  example  of  empir- 
ical justice  that  is  not  rational  but  'rationalist,'  and  at  the  same  time 
strictly  fettered  by  tradition.  Every  prophetic  verdict  is  in  the  end  pure 
Kadi-justice,  unfettered  by  tradition,  and  follows  the  schema:  'It  is  writ- 
ten .  .  .  but  I  say  unto  you.'  The  more  strongly  the  religious  nature  of 
the  Kadi's  (or  a  similar  judge's)  position  is  emphasized,  the  more  freely 
the  judgment  of  the  single  case  prevails  and  the  less  it  is  encumbered  by 
rules  within  that  sphere  of  its  operation  which  is  not  fettered  by  sacred 
tradition.  For  a  generation  after  the  occupation  of  Tunisia  by  the  French, 
for  instance,  a  very  tangible  handicap  for  capitalism  remained  in  that  the 
ecclesiastic  court  (the  Chard)  decided  over  land  holdings  by  'free  discre- 
tion,' as  the  Europeans  put  it.  We  shall  become  acquainted  with  the 
sociological  foundation  of  these  older  types  of  justice  when  we  discuss 
the  structures  of  domination  in  another  context. 

It  is  perfectly  true  that  'matter-of-factness'  and  'expertness'  are  sot 
necessarily  identical  with  the  rule  of  general  and  abstract  norms.  Indeed, 
this  does  not  even  hold  in  the  case  of  the  modern  administration  of 
justice.  In  principle,  the  idea  of  *a  law  without  gaps'  is,  of  course,  vig- 
orously disputed.  The  conception  of  the  modern  judge  as  an  automaton 
into  which  the  files  and  the  costs  are  thrown  in  order  that  it  may  spill 
forth  the  verdict  at  the  bottom  along  with  the  reasons,  read  mechanically 
from  codified  paragraphs — this  conception  is  angrily  rejected,  perhaps 
because  a  certain  approximation  to  this  type  is  implied  by  a  consistent 
bureaucratization  of  justice.  In  the  field  of  court  procedure  there  are 



220  POWER 

areas  in  which  the  bureaucratic  judge  is  directly  held  to  'individuaHzing' 
procedures  by  the  legislator. 

For  the  field  of  administrative  activity  proper,  that  is,  for  all  state 
activities  that  fall  outside  the  field  of  law  creation  and  court  procedure, 
one  is  accustomed  to  claiming  the  freedom  and  paramountcy  of  indi- 
vidual circumstances.  General  norms  are  held  to  play  primarily  a  nega- 
tive role  as  barriers  to  the  official's  positive  and  'creative'  activity,  which 
should  never  be  regulated.  The  bearing  of  this  thesis  may  be  disregarded 
here.  Yet  the  point  that  this  'freely'  creative  administration  (and  possibly 
judicature)  does  not  constitute  a  realm  of  free,  arbitrary  action,  of  mercy, 
and  of  personally  motivated  favor  and  valuation,  as  we  shall  find  to  be 
the  case  among  pre-bureaucratic  forms,  is  a  very  decisive  point.  The 
rule  and  the  rational  estimation  of  'objective'  purposes,  as  well  as  devo- 
tion to  them,  always  exist  as  a  norm  of  conduct.  In  the  field  of  executive 
administration,  especially  where  the  'cre.Ttive'  arbitrariness  of  the  official 
is  most  strongly  built  up,  the  specifically  modern  and  strictly  'objective' 

i  idea  of  'reasons  of  state'  is  upheld  as  the  supreme  and  ultimate  guiding 
star  of  the  official's  behavior. 

ut  course,  and  above  all,  the  sure  instincts  of  the  bureaucracy  for  the 
conditions  of  maintaining  its  power  in  its  own  state  (and  through 
it,  in  opposition  to  other  states)  are  inseparably  fused  with  the  canoniza- 
tion of  the  abstract  and  'objective'  idea  of  'reasons  of  state.'  In  the  last 
analysis,  the  power  interests  of  the  bureaucracy  only  give  a  concretely 
exploitable  content  to  this  by  no  means  unambiguous  ideal;  and,  in  du- 
bious cases,  power  interests  tip  the  balance.  We  cannot  discuss  this  further 
here.  The  only  decisive  point  for  us  is  that  in  £rinciple_a_system  of 
rationally  debatable  'reasons'  stands  behind   every  act  of  bureaucratic 

,  administration,  that  is,  either  subsumption  under  norms  or  a  weighing 

of  ends  and  means.         "  

The  position  of  all  'democratic'  currents,  in  the  sense  of  currents  that 
would  minimize  'authority,'  is  necessarily  ambiguous.  'Equality  before 

,  the  law'  and  the  demand  for  legal  guarantees  against  arbitrariness  de- 
mand a  formal  and  rational  'objectivity'  of  administration,  as  opposed  to 
the  personally  free  discretion  flowing  from  the  'grace'  of  the  old  patri- 
monial domination.  If,  however,  an  'ethos' — not  to  speak  of  instincts — 
takes  hold  of  the  masses  on  some  individual  question,  it  postulates  sub- 
stantive  justice  oriented  toward  some  concrete  instance  and  person;  and 
such  an  'ethos'  will  unavoidably  collide  with  the  formalism  and  the  rule- 


bound  and  cool  'matter-o£-factness'  of  bureaucratic  administration.  For 
this  reason,  the  ethos  must  emotionally  reject  what  reason  demands. 

The  propertyless  masses  especially  are  not  served  by  a  formal  'equality 
before  the  law'  and  a  'calculable'  adjudication  and  administration,  as 
demanded  by  'bourgeois'  interests.  Naturally,  in  their  eyes  justice  and 
administration  should  serve  to  compensate  for  their  economic  and  social 
life-opportunities  in  the  face  of  the  propertied  classes.  Justice  and  admin- 
istration can  fulfil  this  function  only  if  they  assume  an  informal  char- 
acter to  a  far-reaching  extent.  It  must  be  informal  because  it  is  substan- 
tively 'ethical'  ('Kadi-justice').  Every  sort  of  'popular  justice' — which  "^ 
usually  does  not  ask  for  reasons  and  norms — as  well  as  every  sort  of 
intensive  influence  on  the  administration  by  so-called  public  opinion, 
crosses  the  rational  course  of  justice  and  administration  just  as  strongly, 
and  under  certain  conditions  far  more  so,  as  the  'star  chamber'  proceed- 
ings of  an  'absolute'  ruler  has  been  able  to  do.  In  this  connection,  that  is, 
under  the  conditions  of  mass  democracy,  public  opinion  is  communal 
conduct  born  of  irrational  'sentiments.'  Normally  it  is  staged  or  directed 
by  party  leaders  and  the  press. 

8:  The  Concentration  of  the  Means  of  Administration 

,  The Jjureaucratic  structure  goes  hand  in  hand  with  the  concentration  I'i 
of  the  material  means  of  managemenT  m  the  hands  of  the  master.  This!" 
concentration  occurs,  for  instance,  in  a  well-known  and  typical  fashion, 
in  the  development  of  big  capitalist  enterprises,  which  find  their  essential 
characteristics  in  this  process.  A  corresponding  process  occurs  in  public 

The  bureaucratically  led  army  of  the  Pharaohs,  the  army  during  the 
later  period  of  the  Roman  republic  and  the  principate,  and,  above  all, 
the  army  of  the  modern  military  state  are  characterized  by  the  fact  that 
their  equipment  and  provisions  are  supplied  from  the  magazines  of 
the  war  lord.  This  is  in  contrast  to  the  folk  armies  of  agricultural  tribes, 
the  armed  citizenry  of  ancient  cities,  the  militias  of  early  medieval  cities, 
and  all  feudal  armies;  for  these,  the  self-equipment  and  the  self-pro- 
visioning of  those  obliged  to  fight  was  normal. 

War  in  our  time  is  a  war  of  machines.  And  this  makes  magazines 
technically  necessary,  just  as  the  dominance  of  the  machine  in  industry 
promotes  the  concentration  of  the  means  of  production  and  manage- 
ment. In  the  main,  however,  the  bureaucratic  armies  of  the  past,  equipped 

222  POWER 

and  provisioned  by  the  lord,  have  risen  when  social  and  economic  devel- 
opment has  absolutely  or  relatively  diminished  the  stratum  of  citizens 
M^ho  were  economically  able  to  equip  themselves,  so  that  their  number 
was  no  longer  sufficient  for  putting  the  required  armies  in  the  field. 
They  were  reduced  at  least  relatively,  that  is,  in  relation  to  the  range  of 
power  claimed  for  the   polity.   Only  the  bureaucratic   army  structure 
allowed  for  the  development  of  the  professional  standing  armies  which 
are  necessary  for  the  constant  pacification  ot  large  states  or  the  plains, 
as  well  as  for  warfare  against  far-distant  enemies,  especially  enemies 
fl  overseas.  Specifically,  miHtary  discipline  and  technical  training_c^iT_  be 
f^'^^f  normally  and  fully  developed,  at  least  to  Itslnodern  high  level,  only  in 
"J  the  bureaucratic  army. 

*  Historically,  the  bureaucratization  of  the  army  has  everywhere  been 
realized  along  with  the  transfer  of  army  service  from  the  propertied  to 
the  propertyless.  Until  this  transfer  occurs,  military  service  is  an  honorific 
privilege  of  propertied  men.  Such  a  transfer  was  made  to  the  native- 
born  unpropertied,  for  instance,  in  the  armies  of  the  generals  of  the  late 
Roman  republic  and  the  empire,  as  well  as  in  modern  armies  up  to  the 
nineteenth  century.  The  burden  of  service  has  also  been  transferred  to 
strangers,  as  in  the  mercenary  armies  of  all  ages.  This  process  typically 
goes  hand  in  hand  with  the  general  increase  in  material  and  intellectual 
culture.  The  following  reason  has  also  played  its  part  everywhere:  the 
increasing  density  of  population,  and  therewith  the  intensity  and  strain 
of  economic  work,  makes  for  an  increasing  'indispensability'  of  the 
acquisitive  strata  ^  for  purposes  of  war.  Leaving  aside  periods  of  strong 
ideological  fervor,  the  propertied  strata  of  sophisticated  and  especially  of 
urban  culture  as  a  rule  are  little  fitted  and  also  little  inclined  to  do  the 
coarse  war  work  of  the  common  soldier.  Other  circumstances  being 
equal,  the  propertied  strata  of  the  open  country  are  at  least  usually  better 
qualified  and  more  strongly  inclined  to  become  professional  officers. 
This  difference  between  the  urban  and  the  rural  propertied  is  balanced 
only  where  the  increasing  possibiUty  of  mechanized  warfare  requires 
the  leaders  to  qualify  as  'technicians.' 

The  bureaucratization  of  organized  warfare  may  be  carried  through 
in  the  form  of  private  capitalist  enterprise,  just  like  any  other  business. 
Indeed,  the  procurement  of  armies  and  their  administration  by  private 
capitalists  has  been  the  rule  in  mercenary  armies,  especially  those  of  the 
Occident  up  to  the  turn  of  the  eighteenth  century.  During  the  Thirty 
Years'  War,  in  Brandenburg  the  soldier  was  still  the  predominant  owner 


of  the  material  implements  of  his  business.  He  owned  his  weapons, 
horses,  and  dress,  although  the  state,  in  the  role,  as  it  were,  of  the  mer- 
chant of  the  'putting-out  system,'  did  supply  him  to  some  extent.  Later 
on,  in  the  standing  army  of  Prussia,  the  chief  of  the  company  owned 
the  material  means  of  warfare,  and  only  since  the  peace  of  Tilsit  has  the 
concentration  of  the  means  of  warfare  in  the  hands  of  the  state  definitely 
come  about.  Only  with  this  concentration  was  the  introduction  of 
uniforms  generally  carried  through.  Before  then,  the  introduction  of 
uniforms  had  been  left  to  a  great  extent  to  the  arbitrary  discretion  of  the 
regimental  officer,  with  the  exception  of  individual  categories  of  troops 
to  whom  the  king  had  'bestowed'  certain  uniforms,  first,  in  1620,  to  the 
royal  bodyguard,  then,  under  Frederick  II,  repeatedly. 

Such  terms  as  'regiment'  and  'battalion'  usually  had  quite  different 
meanings  in  the  eighteenth  century  from  the  meanings  they  have  today. 
Only  the  battalion  was  a  tactical  unit  (today  both  are);  the  'regiment' 
was  then  a  managerial  unit  of  an  economic  organization  established  by 
the  colonel's  position  as  an  'entrepreneur.'  'Official'  maritime  ventures 
(like  the  Genoese  maonae)  and  army  procurement  belong  to  private 
capitalism's  first  giant  enterprises  of  far-going  bureaucratic  character. 
In  this  respect,  the  'nationalization'  of  these  enterprises  by  the  state  has 
its  modern  parallel  in  the  nationalization  of  the  railroads,  which  have  ;_ 
been  controlled  by  the  state  from  their  beginnings.  -^ 

In  the  same  way  as  with  army  organizations,  the  bureaucratization  of 
administration  goes  hand  in  hand  with  the  concentration  of  the  means 
of  organization  in  other  spheres.  The  old  administration  by  satraps  and 
regents,  as  well  as  administration  by  farmers  of  office,  purchasers  of 
office,  and,  most  of  all,  administration  by  feudal  vassals,  decentralize 
the  material  means  of  administration.  The  local  demand  of  the  province 
and  the  cost  of  the  army  and  of  subaltern  officials  are  regularly  paid  for 
in  advance  from  local  income,  and  only  the  surplus  reaches  the  central 
treasure.  The  enfeoffed  official  administers  entirely  by  payment  out  of  ^ 
his  own  pocket.  The  bureaucratic  state,  however,  puts  its  whole  admin-, L 
istrative  expense  on  the  budget  and  equips  the  lower  authorities  with  the  i 
current  means  of  expenditure,  the  use  of  which  the  state  regulates  and  -^ 
controls.  This  has  the  same  meaning  for  the  'economics'  of  the  adminis-  | 
tration  as  for  the  large  centralized  capitalist  enterprise.  '^ 

/  In  the  field  of  scientific  research  and  instruction,  the  bureaucratization 
of  the  always  existing  research  institutes  of  the  universities  is  a  function 
of  the  increasing  demand  for  material  means  of  management.^Liebig's 

^  A- 

224  POWER 

laboratory  at  Giessen  University  was  the  first  example  of  big  enterprise 
in  this  field.  Through  the  concentration  of  such  means  in  the  hands  of 
the  privileged  head  of  the  institute,  the  mass  of  researchers  and  docents 
are  separated  from  their  'means  of  production,'  in  the  same  way  as 
capitalist  enterprise  has  separated  the  workers  from  theirs. 

In  spite  of  its  indubitable  technical  superiority,  bureaucracy  has  every- 
where been  a  relatively  late  development.  A  number  of  obstacles  have 
contributed  to  this,  and  only  under  certain  social  and  political  conditions 
have  they  definitely  receded  into  the  background. 

9:  The  Leveling  of  Social  Differences 

'''  Bureaucratic  organization  has  usually  come  into  power  on  the  basis_ 
of  a  leveling  of  economic  and  social  differences.  This  leveling  has  been 
at  least  relative,  and  has  concerned  the  significance  of  social  and  eco- 
nomic differences  for  the  assumption  of  administrative  functions. 
V  Bureaucracy  inevitably  accompanies  modern  mass  democracy  in  con- 
^  trast  to  the  democratic  self-government  of  small  homogeneous  units. 
5X/'^  '  This  results  from  the  characteristic  principle  of  bureaucracy:  the  abstract 
-^  regularity  of  the  execution  of  authority,  which  is  a  result  of  the  demarjd 
for  'equality  before  the  law'  in  the  personal  and  functional  sense—hence, 
of  the  horror  of  'privilege,'  and  the  principled  rejection  of  doing  business 
'from  case  to  case.'  Such  regularity  also  follows  from  the  social  precon- 
ditions of  the  origin  of  bureaucracies.  The  non-bureaucratic  administra- 
tion of  any  large  social  structure  rests  in  some  way  upon  the  fact  that 
existing  social,  material,  or  honorific  preferences  and  ranks  are  connected 
with  administrative  functions  and  duties.  This  usually  means  that  a 
direct  or  indirect  economic  exploitation  or  a  'social'  exploitation  of  posi- 
tion, which  every  sort  of  administrative  activity  gives  to  its  bearers,  is 
equivalent  to  the  assumption  of  administrative  functions. 
Bureaucratization  and  democratization  within  the  administration  of 
^  the  state  therefore  signify  and  increase  the  cash  expenditures  of -the 
public  treasury.  And  this  is  the  case  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  buireau- 
cratic  administration  is  usually  more  'economical'  in  character  than  other 
forms  of  administration.  Until  recent  times — at  least  from  the  point  of 
view  of  the  treasury — the  cheapest  way  of  satisfying  the  need  for  admin- 
istration was  to  leave  almost  the  entire  local  administration  and  lower 
judicature  to  the  landlords  of  Eastern  Prussia.  The  same  fact  applies  to 
the  administration   of  sheriffs   in   England.  Mass  democracy   makes  a 


clean  sweep  of  the  feudal,  patrimonial,  and — at  least  in  intent — the  pluto- 
cratic privileges  in  administration.  Unavoidably  it  puts  paid  professional 
labor  in  place  of  the  historically  inherited  avocational  administration  by  i|'  >fe:.c^ 

This  not  only  applies  to  structures  of  the  state.  For  it  is  no  accident 
that  in  their  own  organizations,  the  democratic  mass  parties  have  com- 
pletely broken  with  traditional  notable  rule  based  upon  personal  rela- 
tionships and  personal  esteem.  Yet  such  personal  structures  frequently 
continue  among  the  old  conservative  as  well  as  the  old  liberal  parties.  /  '- 

Democratic  mass  parties  are  bureaucratically  organized  under  the  lead- 
ership of  party  officials,  professional  party  and  trade  union  secretaries, 
et  cetera.  In  Germany,  for  instance,  this  has  happened  in  the  Social 
Democratic  party  and  in  the  agrarian  mass-movement;  and  in  England, 
for  the  first  time,  in  the  caucus  democracy  of  Gladstone-Chamberlain, 
which  was  originally  organized  in  Birmingham  and  since  the  1870's  has 
spread.  In  the  United  States,  both  parties  since  Jackson's  administration 
have  developed  bureaucratically.  In  France,  however,  attempts  to  organ- 
ize disciplined  political  parties  on  the  basis  of  an  election  system  that 
would  compel  bureaucratic  organization  have  repeatedly  failed.  The 
resistance  of  local  circles  of  notables  against  the  ultimately  unavoidable 
bureaucratization  of  the  parties,  which  would  encompass  the  entire  coun- 
try and  break  their  influence,  could  not  be  overcome.  Every  advance  of 
the  simple  election  techniques,  for  instance  the  system  of  proportional  elec- 
tions, which  calculates  with  figures,  means  a  strict  and  inter-local  bureau- 
cratic organization  of  the  parties  and  therewith  an  increasing  domina- 
tion of  party  bureaucracy  and  discipline,  as  well  as  the  elimination  of 
the  local  circles  of  notables — at  least  this  holds  for  great  states. 

The  progress  of  bureaucratization  in  the  state  administration  itself  is  |[ "] 
a  parallel  phemmienorrioF^^'^^^^^^y'  '^^  ^^  quite  obvious  in  France, 
North  America,  and  now  in  England.  Of  course  one  must  always  re- 
member that  the  term  'democratization'  can  be  misleadmg.  Ihe  demos 
itself,  in  the  sense  of  an  inarticulate  mass,  never  'governs'  larger  associa-i 
tions;  rather,  it  is  governed,  and  its  existence  only  changes  the  way  ini 
which  the  executive  leaders  are  selected  and  the  measure  of  influence 
which  the  demos,  or  better,  which  social  circles  from  its  midst  are  able 
to  exert  upon  the  content  and  the  direction  of  administrative  activities 
by  supplementing  what  is  called  'public  opinion.'  'Democratization,'  in 
the  sense  here  intended,  does  not  necessarily  mean  an  increasingly  active 

226  POWER 

share  of  the  governed  in  the  authority  o£  the  social  structure.  This  may 
be  a  result  of  democratization,  but  it  is  not  necessarily  the  case. 

We  must  expressly  recall  at  this  point  that  the  political  concept  of 
[:  democracy,  deduced  from  the  'equal  rights'  of  the  governed;,"^  includes 
'  these  postulates:  (i)  prevention  of  the  development  of  a  closed  status 
group  of  officials  in  the  interest  of  a  universal  accessibility  of  office,  and 
(2)  minimization  of  the  authority  of  officialdom  in  the  interest  of 
expanding  ^  the  sphere  of  influence  of  'public  opinion'  as  far  as  practi- 
cable. Hence,  wherever  possible,  political  democracy  strives  to  shorten  the 
term  of  office  by  election  and  recall  and  by  not  binding  the  candidate  to 
a  special  expertness.  Thereby  democracy  inevitably  comes  into  conflict 
with  the  bureaucratic  tendencies  which,  by  its  fight  against  notable  rule, 
democracy  has  produced.  The  generally  loose  term  'democratization' 
cannot  be  used  here,  in  so  far  as  it  is  understood  to  mean  the  minimiza- 
tion of  the  civil  servants'  ruling  power  in  favor  of  the  greatest  possible 
'direct'  rule  of  the  demos,  which  in  practice  means  the  respective  party 
V  leaders  of  the  demos.  The  most  decisive  thing  here — indeed  it  is  rather 
exclusively  so — is  the  leveling  of  the  governed  in  opposition  to  the  ruling 
and  bureaucratically  articulated  group,  which  in  its  turn  may  occupy  a 
quite  autocratic  position,  both  in  fact  and  in  form. 

In  Russia,  the  destruction  of  the  position  of  the  old  landed  nobility 
through  the  regulation  of  the  Mjeshtshitelstvo  (rank  order)  and  the 
permeation  of  the  old  nobility  by  an  office  nobility  were  characteristic 
transitional  phenomena  in  the  development  of  bureaucracy.  In  China, 
the  estimation  of  rank  and  the  qualification  for  office  according  to  the 
number  of  examinations  passed  mean  something  similar,  but  they  have 
had  consequences  which,  in  theory  at  least,  are  still  sharper.  In  France, 
the  Revolution  and  still  more  Bonapartism  have  made  the  bureaucracy 
all-powerful.  In  the  Catholic  Church,  first  the  feudal  and  then  all  inde- 
pendent local  intermediary  powers  were  eliminated.  This  was  begun 
by  Gregory  VII  and  continued  through  the  Council  of  Trent,  the  Vatican 
Council,  and  it  was  completed  by  the  edicts  of  Pius  X.  The  transforma- 
tion of  these  local  powers  into  pure  functionaries  of  the  central  authority 
were  connected  with  the  constant  increase  in  the  factual  significance  of 
the  formally  quite  dependent  chaplains,  a  process  which  above  all  was 
based  on  the  political  party  organization  of  Catholicism.  Hence  this 
..'process  meant  an  advance  of  bureaucracy  and  at  the  same  time  of 
'passive  democratization,'  as  it  were,  that  is,  the  leveling  of  the  gov- 
erned. The  substitution  of  the  bureaucratic  army  for  the  self-equipped 



army  of  notables  is  everywhere  a  process  of  'passive'  democratization,  in 
the  sense  in  which  every  establishment  of  an  absolute  military  monarchy 
in  the  place  of  a  feudal  state  or  of  a  republic  of  notables  is.  This  has 
held,  in  principle,  even  for  the  development  of  the  state  in  Egypt  in 
spite  of  all  the  peculiarities  involved.  Under  the  Roman  principate  the 
bureaucratization  of  the  provincial  administration  in  the  field  of  tax 
collection,  for  instance,  went  hand  in  hand  with  the  elimination  of  the 
plutocracy  of  a  capitalist  class,  which,  under  the  Republic,  had  been 
all-powerful.  Ancient  capitaHsm  itself  was  finally  eliminated  with  this 

It  is  obvious  that  almost  always  economic  conditions  of  some  sort 
play  their  part  in  such  'democratizing'  developments.  Very  frequently 
we  meet  with  the  influence  of  an  economically  determined  origin  of 
new  classes,  whether  plutocratic,  petty  bourgeois,  or  proletarian  in  char- 
acter. Such  classes  may  call-£)n  the  aid  of,  or  they  may  only  call  to  life  or 
recall  to  life,  a  political  power,  no  matter  whether  it  is  of  legitimate  or 
of  Caesarist  stamp.  They  may  do  so  in  order  to  attain  economic  or  social 
advantages  by  political  assistance.  On  the  other  hand,  there  are  equally 
possible  and  historically  documented  cases  in  which  initiative  came 
'from  on  high'  and  was  of  a  purely  political  nature  and  drew  advan- 
tages from  political  constellations,  especially  in  foreign  affairs.  Such 
leadership  exploited  economic  and  social  antagonisms  as  well  as  class 
interests  merely  as  a  means  for  their  own  purpose  of  gaining  purely 
political  power.  [For  this  reason,  political  authority  has  thrown  the  antag- 
onistic classes  out  of  their  almost  always  unstable  equilibrium  and  called 
their  latent  interest  conflicts  into  battle.  It  seems  hardly  possible  to  give 
a  general  statement  of  this. 

The  extent  and  direction  of  the  course  along  which  economic  influ- 
ences have  moved,  as  well  as  the  nature  in  which  political  power  relations 
exert  influence,  vary  widely.  In  Hellenic  Antiquity,  the  transition  to 
disciplined  combat  by  Hoplites,  and  in  Athens,  the  increasing  impor- 
tance of  the  navy  laid  the  foundation  for  the  conquest  of  political  power 
by  the  strata  on  whose  shoulders  the  military  burden  rested.  In  Rome, 
however,  the  same  development  shook  the  rule  of  the  office  nobility 
only  temporarily  and  seemingly.  Although  the  modern  mass  army  has 
everywhere  been  a  means  of  breaking  the  power  of  notables,  by  itself  it 
has  in  no  way  served  as  a  leverage  for  active,  but  rather  for  merely 
passive,  democratization.  One  contributing  factor,  however,  has  been  the 
fact  that  the  ancient  citizen  army  rested  economically  upon  self-equip- 

228  POWER 

ment,  whereas  the  modern  army  rests  upon  the  bureaucratic  procure- 
ment of  requirements. 
The  advance  of  the  bureaucratic  structure  rests  upon  'technical'  superi- 
'  ority.  This  fact  leads  here,  as  in  the  whole  field  of  technique,  to  the 
following:  the  advance  has  been  realized  most  slowly  where  older  struc- 
tural forms  have  been  technically  well  developed  and  functionally  ad- 
justed to  the  requirements  at  hand.  This  was  the  case,  for  instance,  in 
the  administration  of  notables  in  England  and  hence  England  was  the 
slowest  of  all  countries  to  succumb  to  bureaucratization  or,  indeed,  is 
still  only  partly  in  the  process  of  doing  so.  The  same  general  phenom- 
enon exists  when  highly  developed  systems  of  gaslight  or  of  steam  rail- 
roads with  large  and  fixed  capital  offer  stronger  obstacles  to  electrifi- 
cation than  in  completely  new  areas  which  are  opened  up  for  electrifi- 

10 :  The  Permanent  Character  of  the  Bureaucratic  Machine 

t  '  ]>^  Once  it  is  fully  estabHshed,  bureaucracy  is  among  those  social  struc- 
tures which  are  the  hardest  to  destroy.  Bureaucracy  is  the  means  of  carry- 

\  ing  'community  action'  over  into  rationally  ordered  'societal  action.' 
Therefore,  as  an  instrument  for  'societalizing'  relations  of  power,  bu- 
reaucracy has  been  and  is  a  power  instrument  of  the  first  order — for 
the  one  who  controls  the  bureaucratic  apparatus. 

Under  otherwise  equal  conditions,  a  'societal  action,'  which  is  method- 
ically ordered  and  led,  is  superior  to  every  resistance  of  'mass'  or  even 
of  'communal  action.'  And  where  the  bureaucratization  of  administra- 
tion has  been  completely  carried  through,  a  form  of  power  relation  is 
established  that  is  practically  unshatterable. 

The  individual  bureaucrat  cannot  squirm  out  of  the  apparatus  in 
which  he  is  harnessed.  In  contrast  to  the  honorific  or  avocational  'nota- 
ble,' the  professional  bureaucrat  is  chained  to  his  activity  by  his  entire 
material  and  ideal  existence.  In  the  great  majority  of  cases,  he  is  only 
a  single  cog  in  an  ever-moving  mechanism  which  prescribes  to  him 
an  essentially  fixed  route  of  march.  The  official  is-  entrusted  with 
specialized  tasks  and  normally  the  mechanism  cannot  be  put  into  motion 
or  arrested  by  him,  but  only  from  the  very  top.  The  individual  bureau- 
-  crat  is  thus  forged  to  the  community  of  all  the  functionaries  who  are 
integrated  into  the  mechanism.  They  have  a  common  interest  in  seeing 


that  the  mechanism  continues  its  functions  and  that  the  societally  exer- 
cised authority  carries  on. 

The  ruled,  for  their  part,  cannot  dispense  with  or  replace  the  bureau- 
cratic apparatus  of  authority  once  it  exists.  For  this  bureaucracy  rests 
upon  expert  training,  a  functional  specialization  of  work,  and  an  attitude 
set  for  habitual  and  virtuoso-like  mastery  of  single  yet  methodically 
integrated  functions.  If  the  official  stops  working,  or  if  his  work  is  force- 
fully interrupted,  chaos  results,  and  it  is  difficult  to  improvise  replace- 
ments from  among  the  governed  who  are  fit  to  master  such  chaos.  This 
holds  for  public  administration  as  well  as  for  private  economic  manage- 
ment./More  and  more  the  material  fate  of  the  masses  depends  upon  the 
steady  and  correct  functioning  of  the  increasingly  bureaucratic  organiza- 
tions of  private  capitalism.  The  idea  of  eliminating  these  organizations 
becomes  more  and  more  Utopian. 

The  discipHne  of  officialdom  refers  to  the  attitude-set  of  the  official 
for  precise  obedience  within  his  habitual  activity,  in  public  as  well  as  in 
private  organizations.  This  discipline  increasingly  becomes  the  basis  of 
all  order,  however  great  the  practical  importance  of  administration  on 
■the  basis  of  the  filed  documents  may  be.  The  naive  idea  of  Bakuninism 
of  destroying  the  basis  of  'acquired  rights'  and  'domination'  by  destroy- 
ing public  documents  overlooks  the  settled  orientation  of  man  for  keep- 
ing to  the  habitual  rules  and  regulations  that  continue  to  exist  independ- 
ently of  the  documents.  Every  reorganization  of  beaten  or  dissolved 
troops,  as  well  as  the  restoration  of  administrative  orders  destroyed  by 
revolt,  panic,  or  other  catastrophes,  is  realized  by  appealing  to  the  trained 
orientation  of  obedient  compliance  to  such  orders.  Such  compliance  has 
been  conditioned  into  the  officials,  on  the  one  hand,  and,  on  the  other 
hand,  into  the  governed.  If  such  an  appeal  is  successful  it  brings,  as  it 
were,  the  disturbed  mechanism  into  gear  again. 

The  objective  indispensability  of  the  once-existing  apparatus,  with  its 
peculiar,  'impersonal'  character,  means  that  the  mechanism — in  contrast 
to  feudal  orders  based  upofi  personal  piety — is  easily  made  to  work  for 
anybody  who  knows  how  to  gain  control  over  it.  A  rationally  ordered 
system  of  officials  continues  to  function  smoothly  after  the  enemy  has 
occupied  the  area;  he  merely  needs  to  change  the  top  officials.  This  body 
of  officials  continues  to  operate  because  it  is  to  the  vital  interest  of  every- 
one concerned,  including  above  all  the  enemy. 

During  the  course  of  his  long  years  in  power,  Bismarck  brought  his 
ministerial   colleagues   into   unconditional   bureaucratic    dependence   by 

230  POWER 

eliminating  all  independent  statesmen.  Upon  his  retirement,  he  saw  to 
his  surprise  that  they  continued  to  manage  their  offices  unconcerned  and 
undismayed,  as  if  he  had  not  been  the  master  mind  and  creator  of  these 
creatures,  but  rather  as  if  some  single  figure  had  been  exchanged  for 
some  other  figure  in  the  bureaucratic  machine.  With  all  the  changes  of 
masters  in  France  since  the  time  of  the  Fircf  Empire,  the  power  machine 
has  remained  essentially  the  same.  Such  a  machine  makes  'revolution,' 
in  the  sense  of  the  forceful  creation  of  entirely  new  formations  of  author- 
ity, technically  more  and  more  impossible,  especially  when  the  apparatus 
controls  the  modern  means  of  communication  (telegraph,  et  cetera)  and 
also  by  virtue  of  its  internal  rationaHzed  structure.  In  classic  fashion, 
France  has  demonstrated  how  this  process  has  substituted  coups  d'etat 
for  'revolutions':  all  successful  transformations  in  France  have  amounted 
to  coups  d'etat. 

11:  Economic  and  Social  (J^onsequences  of  Bureaucracy 

It  is  clear  that  the  bureaucratic  organization  of  a  social  structure,  and 
especially  of  a  political  one,  can  and  regularly  does  have  far-reaching  eco- 
nomic consequences.  But  what  sort  of  consequences.''  Of  course  in  any 
individual  case  it  depends  upon  the  distribution  of  economic  and  social 
power,  and  especially  upon  the  sphere  that  is  occupied  by  the  emerging 
bureaucratic  mechanism.  The  consequences  of  bureauaracydepend  there- 
fore upon  the  direction  which  the  power§_  using  the  appaiiitus  give 
to  it.  And  very  frequently  a  crypto-plutocratic  disrrihurion  of  power  has 
been  the  result.  -^ 

In  England,  but  especially  in  the  United  States,  party  donors  regularly 
stand  behind  the  bureaucratic  party  organizations.  They  have  financed 
these  parties  and  have  been  able  to  influence  them  to  a  large  extent. 
The  breweries  in  England,  the  so-called  'heavy  industry,'  and  in  Ger- 
many the  Hansa  League  with  their  voting  funds  are  well  enough  known 
as  pohtical  donors  to  parties.  In  modern  times  bureaucratization  and 
social  leveling  within  political,  and  particularly  within  state  organiza- 
tions in  connection  with  the  destruction  of  feudal  and  local  privileges, 
have  very  frequently  benefited  the  interests  of  capitaHsm.  Often  bureauc- 
ratization has  been  carried  out  in  direct  alliance  with  capitalist  interests, 
for  example,  the  great  historical  alliance  of  the  power  of  the  absolute 
prince  with  capitalist  interests.  In  general,  a  legal  leveling  and  destruction 
of  firmly  established  local  structures  ruled  by  notables  has  usually  made 


for  a  wider  range  of  capitalist  activity.'  Yet  one  may  expect  as  an  effect 
of  bureaucratization,  a  policy  that  meets  the -petty  bourgeois  interest  in 
a  secured  traditional  'subsistence,'  or  even  a  state  socialist  policy  that 
strangles  opportunities  for  private  profit.  This  has  occurred  in  several 
cases  of  historical  and  far-reaching  importance,  specifically  during  an- 
tiquity; it  is  undoubtedly  to  be  expected  as  a  future  development.  Perhaps 
it  will  occur  in  Germany. 

The  very  different  effects  of  political  organizations  which  were,  at 
least  in  principle,  quite  similar — in  Egypt  under  the  Pharaohs  and  in 
Hellenic  and  Roman  times — show  the  very  different  economic  signifi- 
cances of  bureaucratization  which  are  possible  according  to  the  direction 
of  other  factors.  The  mere  fact  of  bureaucratic  organization  does  not 
unambiguously   tell   us   about   the   concrete   direction   of  its   economic 
effects,  which  are  always  in  some  manner  present.  At  least  it  does  not 
tell  us  as  much  as  can  be  told  about  its  relatively  leveling  effect  socially.  •,*(" 
In  this  respect,  one  has  to  remember  that  bureaucracy  as  such  is  a  pre- 
cision instrument  which  can  put  itself  at  the  disposal  of  quite  varied — 
purely  political  as  well  as  purely  economic,  or  any  other  sort — of  interests 
in  domination.  Therefore,  the  measure  of  its  parallelism  with  democ- 
ratization must  not  be  exaggerated,  however  typical  it  may  be.  Under 
certain  conditions,  strata  of  feudal  lords  have  also  put  bureaucracy  into 
their  service.  There  is  also  the  possibility — and  often  it  has  become  a  fact,  <^cA"^)r 
for  instance,  in  the  Roman  principate  and  in  some  forms  of  absolutist  ^^^\.- 
state  structures — that  a  bureaucratization  of  administration  is  deliber-  ^^ 
ately  connected  with  the  formation  of  estates,  or  is  entangled  with  them 
by  the  force  of  the  existing  groupings  of  social  power.  The  express 
reservation  of  for  certain  status  groups  is  very  frequent,  and  actual  - 
reservations  are  even  more  frequent.  The  democratization  of  society  in  |, 
its  totality,  and  in  the  modern  sense  of  the  term,  whether  actual  or  per-  i| 
haps  mer-ely  formal,  is  an  especially  favorable  basis  of  bureaucratization,  '"*t 
but  by  no  means  the  only  possible  one^  After  all,  bureaucracy  strives 
merely  to  level  those  powers  that  stand  in  its  way  and  in  those  areas    - 
that,  in  the  individual  case,  it  seeks  to  occupy.  We  must  remember  this 
fact — which  we  have  encountered  several  times  and  which  we  shall  have  i 
to  discuss  repeatedly:  that  'democracy'  as  such  is  opposed  to  the  'rule'  of  |  ^ 
bureaucracy,  '  n  spite  and  perhaps  because  of  its  unavoidable  yet  unin-  f 
tended  promotion  of  bureaucratization.  Under  certain  conditions,  democ- 
racy creates  obvious  ruptures  and  blockages  to  bureaucratic  organization. 

232  POWER 

Hence,  in  every  individual  historical  case,  one  must  observe  in  what 
"    special  direction  bureaucratization  has  developed. 

12:  The  Pov^^r  Position  of  Bureaucracy 

Everywhere  the  modern   state  is  undergoing  bureaucratization.   But 
whetheFthe  piC^r^ of  hureaucfMy'^wixhin  the  polity  is  universallyliii:, 
creasing  must  here  remain  an  open  question. 

The  fact  that  bureaucratic  organization  is  technically  the  most  highly 
developed  means  of  power  in  the  hands  of  the  man  who  controls  itHoes 
1^  not  determine  the  weight  that  bureaucracy  as  such  is  capable  of  having 
in  a  particular  sociaT  structure.  The  ever-increasing  'indispensability'  of 
the  officialdom,  swollen  to  millions,  is  no  more  decisive  for  this  question 
than  is  the  view  of  some  representatives  of  the  proletarian  movement 
,  ^      that  the  economic  indispensability  of  the  proletarians  is  decisive  for  the 
^   »!.V     measure  of  their  social  and  poHtical  power  position.  If  'indispensability' 
•^  '        were  decisive,   then   where  slave  labor   prevailed  'and   where  freemen 
usually  abhor  work  as  a  dishonor,  the  'indispensable'  slaves  ought  to 
have  held  the  positions  of  power,  for  they  were  at  least  as  indispensable 
^      as  officials  and  proletarians  are  today.  Whether  the  power  of  bureauc- 
racy as  such  increases  cannot  be  decided  a  priori^ixom.  such  reasons. 
The  drawing  in  of  economic  interest  groups  or  other  non-official  experts, 
or  the  drawing  in  of  non-expert  lay  representatives,  the  establishment  of 
local,  inter-local,  or  central  parliamentary  or  other  representative  bodies, 
or  of  occupational  associations — these  seem  to  run  directly  against  the 
bureaucratic  tendency.  How  far  this  appearance  is  the  truth  must  be 
discussed  in  another  chapter  rather  than  in  this  purely  formal  and  typo- 
logical discussion.  In  general,  only  the  following  can  be  said  here: 

Under  normal  conditions,  the  power  position  of  a  fully  developed 
bureaucracy  is  always  overtowering.  The  'political  master'  finds  himself 
in  the  position  of  the  'dilettante'  who  stands  opposite  the  'expert,'  facing 
the  trained  official  who  stands  within  the  management  of  administra- 
tion. This  holds  whether  the  'master'  whom  the  bureaucracy  serves  is  a 
'people,'  equipped  with  the  weapons  of  'legislative  initiative,'  the  'refer- 
endum,' and  the  right  to  remove  officials,  or  a  parliament,  elected  on  a 
more  aristocratic  or  more  'democratic'  basis  and  equipped  with  the  right 
to  vote  a  lack  of  confidence,  or  with  the  actual  authority  to  vote  it.  It 
holds  whether  the  master  is  an  aristocratic,  collegiate  body,  legally  or 


actually  based  on  self-recruitment,  or  whether  he  is  a  popularly  elected 
president,  a  hereditary  and  'absolute'  or  a  'constitutional'  monarch. 

^  Every  bureaucracy  seeks  to  increase  the  superiority  of  the  profession-  \ 
ally  informed  by  keeping  their  knowledge  and  intentions  secret.  Bureau-  .'I 
cratic  administration  always  tends  to  be  an  administration  of  'secret  I 
sessions':  in  so  far  as  it  can,  it  hides  its  knowledge  and  action  from 
criticism.  Prussian  church  authorities  now  threaten  to  use  disciplinary 
measures  against  pastors  who  make  reprimands  or  other  admonitory 
measures  in  any  way  accessible  to  third  parties.  They  do  this  because 
the  pastor,  in  making  such  criticism  available,  is  'guilty'  of  facilitating  a 
possible  criticism  of  the  church  authorities.  The  treasury  officials  of  the 
Persian  shah  have  made  a  secret  doctrine  of  their  budgetary  art  and  even 
use  secret  script.  The  official  statistics  of  Prussia,  in  general,  make  public 
only  what  cannot  do  any  harm  to  the  intentions  of  the  power-wielding 
bureaucracy.  The  tendency  toward  secrecy  in  certain  administrative  fields 
follows  their  material  nature:  everywhere  that  the  power  interests  of 
the  domination  structure  toward  the  outside  are  at  stake,  whether  it  is 
an  economic  competitor  of  a  private  enterprise,  or  a  foreign,  potentially 
hostile  polity,  we  find  secrecy.,Tf  it  is  to  be  successful,  the  management 
of  diplomacy  can  only  be  publicly  controlled  to  a  very  Hmited  extent. 
The  military  administration  must  insist  on  the  concealment  of  its  most 
important  measures;  with  the  increasing  significance  of  purely  technical 
aspects,  this  is  all  the  more  the  case.  Political  parties  do  not  proceed 
differently,  in  spite  of  all  the  ostensible  publicity  of  Catholic  congresses 
and  party  conventions.  With  the  increasing  bureaucratization  of  party 
organizations,  this  secrecy  will  prevail  even  more.  Commercial  policy, 
in  Germany  for  instance,  brings  about  a  concealment  of  production 
statistics.  Every  fighting  posture  of  a  social  structure  toward  the  outside 
tends  to  buttress  the  position  of  the  group  in  power. 

The  pure  interest  of  the  bureaucracy  in  power,  however,  is  efficacious 
far  beyond  those  areas  where  purely  functional  interests  make  for 
secrecy.  The  concept  of  the  'official  secret'  is  the  specific  invention  of 
bureaucracy,  and  nothing  is  so  fanatically  defended  by  the  bureaucracy 
as  this  attitude,  which  cannot  be  substantially  justified  beyond  these 
specifically  qualified  areas.  In  facing  a  parliament,  the  bureaucracy,  out 
of  a  sure  power  instinct,  fights  every  attempt  of  the  parliament  to  gain 

234  POWER 

knowledge  by  means  of  its  own  experts  or  from  interest  groups.  The 
so-called  right  of  parliamentary  investigation  is  one  of  the  means  by 
which   parliament   seeks  such   knowledge.   Bureaucracy  naturally   wel- 
"~  comes  a  poorly  informed  and  hence  a  powerless  parliament — at  least 
in  so  far  as  ignorance  somehow  agrees  with  the  bureaucracy's  interests. 
The  absolute  monarch  is  powerless  opposite  the  superior  knowledge 
'  of  the  bureaucratic  expert — in  a  certain  sense  more  powerless  than  any 
other  political  head.  All  the  scornful  decrees  of  Frederick  the  Great  con- 
cerning the  'abolition  of  serfdom'  were  derailed,  as  it  were,  in  the  course 
of  their  realization  because  the  official  mechanism  simply  ignored  them 
as  the  occasional  ideas  of  a  dilettante.  When  a  constitutional  king  agrees 
with  a  socially  important  part  of  the  governed,  he  very  frequently  exerts 
a  greater  influence  upon  the  course  of  administration  than  does  the 
/'absolute  monarch.   The  constitutional   king  can   control  these  experts 
-  better  because  of  what  is,  at  least  relatively,  the  public  character  of  crit- 
/    icism,  whereas  the  absolute  monarch  is  dependent  for  information  solely 
"^  upon  the  bureaucracy.  The  Russian  czar  of  the  old  regime  was  seldom 
able  to  accomplish  permanently  anything  that  displeased  his  bureaucracy 
and  hurt  the  power  interests  of  the  bureaucrats.  His  ministerial  depart- 
ments, placed  directly  under  him  as  the  autocrat,  represented  a  con- 
glomerate of  satrapies,  as  was  correctly  noted  by  Leroy-Beaulieu.  These 
satrapies   constantly  fought  against  one  another  by  all  the  means  of 
personal   intrigue,  and,   especially,  they   bombarded  one   another   with 
voluminous  'memorials,'  in  the  face  of  which,  the  monarch,  as  a  dilet- 
tante, was  helpless. 

With  the  transition  to  constitutional  government,  the  concentration  of 
the  power  of  the  central  bureaucracy  in  one  head  became  unavoidable. 
;i  Officialdom  was  placed  under  a  monocratic  head,  the  prime  minister, 
through  whose  hands  everything  had  to  go  before  it  got  to  the  monarch. 
This  put  the  latter,  to  a  large  extent,  under  the  tutelage  of  the  chief  of 
the  bureaucracy.  Wilhelm  II,  in  his  well-known  conflict  with  Bismarck, 
fought  against  this  principle,  but  he  had  to  withdraw  his  attack  very 
soon.  Under  the  rule  of  expert  knowledge,  the  actual  influence  of  the 
"""  monarch  can  attain  steadiness  only  by  a  continuous  communication 
with  the  bureaucratic  chiefs;  this  intercourse  must  be  methodically 
planned  and  directed  by  the  head  of  the  bureaucracy. 

At  the  same  time,  constitutionalism  binds  the  bureaucracy  and  the 
ruler  into  a  cormnunity  of  interests  against  the  desires  of  party  chiefs 
for  power  in  the  parliamentary  bodies.  And  if  he  cannot  find  support  in 


parliament  the  constitutional  monarch  is  powerless  against  the  bureauc- 
racy. The  desertion  of  the  'Great  of  the  Reich,'  the  Prussian  ministers 
and  top  officials  of  the  Reich  in  November  19 18,  brought  a  monarch  into 
approximately  the  same  situation  as  existed  in  the  feudal  state  in  1056. 
However,  this  is  an  exception,  for,  on  the  whole,  the  power  position  of 
a  monarch  opposite  bureaucratic  officials  is  far  stronger  than  it  was  in 
any  feudal  state  or  in  the  'stereotyped'  patrimonial  state.  This  is  because 
of  the  constant  presence  of  aspirants  for  promotion,  with  whom  the 
monarch  can  easily  replace  inconvenient  and  independent  officials.  Other 
circumstances  being  equal,  only  economically  independent  officials,  that 
is,  officials  who  belong  to  the  propertied  strata,  can  permit  themselves  to 
risk  the  loss  of  their  offices.  Today  as  always,  the  recruitment  of  officials 
from  among  propertyless  strata  increases  the  power  of  the  rulers.  Only 
officials  who  belong  to  a  socially  influential  stratum,  whom  the  mon- 
arch believes  he  must  take  into  account  as  personal  supporters,  like 
the  so-called  Kanalrebellen  in  Prussia,®  can  permanently  and  completely 
paralyse  the  substance  of  his  will. 

/  Only  the.  expert  knowledge  of  private  economic  interest  groups  in  the 
\  field  of  'business'  is  superior  to  the  expert  knowledge  of  the  bureaucracy. 
This  is  so  because  the  exact  knowledge  of  facts  in  their  field  is  vital  to 
the  economic  existence  of  businessmen.  Errors  in  official  statistics  do  not 
have  direct  economic  consequences  for  the  guilty  official,  but  errors  in 
the  calculation  of  a  capitaHst  enterprise  are  paid  for  by  losses,  perhaps  by 
its  existence.  The  'secret,'  as  a  means  of  power,  is,  after  all,  more  safely 
hidden  in  the  books  of  an  enterpriser  than  it  is  in  the  files  of  public 
authorities.  For  this  reason  alone  authorities  are  held  within  narrow 
barriers  when  they  seek  to  influence  economic  life  in  the  capitalist 
epoch.  Very  frequently  the  measures  of  the  state  in  the  field  of  capitalism 
take  unforeseen  and  unintended  courses,  or  they  are  made  illusory  by  the 
superior  expert  knowledge  of  interest  groups. 

13:  Stages  in  the  Development  of  Bureaucracy 


More  and  more  the  spjciaHzed  knowledge  of  the  expert  became  the 
foundation  for  the  power  position  of  the  officeholder.  Hence  an  early 
concern  of  the  ruler  was  how  to  exploit  the  special  knowledge  of  experts 
without  having  to  abdicate  in  their  favor  but  preserve  his  dominant 
position.  With  the  qualitative  extension  of  administrative  tasks  and 
therewith  the  indispensability  of  expert  knowledge,  it  typically  happens 

236  POWER 

that  the  lord  no  longer  is  satisfied  by  occasional  consultation  with  indi- 
vidual and  proved  confidants  or  even  with  an  assembly  of  such  men 
called  together  intermittently  and  in  difficult  situations.  The  lord  begins 
to  surround  himself  with  collegiate  bodies  who  deliberate  and  resolve  in 
continuous  session.*  The  Rate  von  Hans  aus^  is  a  characteristic  transi- 
tional phenomenon  in  this  development. 

The  position  of  such  collegiate  bodies  naturally  varies  according  to 
whether  they  become  the  highest  administrative  authority,  or  whether  a 
central  and  monocratic  authority,  or  several  such  authorities  stand  at 
their  side.  In  addition,  a  great  deal  depends  upon  their  procedure.  When 
/the  collegiate  type  is  fully  developed,  such  bodies,  in  principle  or  in  fic- 
tion, meet  with  the  lord  in  the  chair  and  all  important  matters  are 
elucidated  from  all  points  of  view  in  the  papers  of  the  respective  experts 
and  their  assistants  and  by  the  reasoned  votes  of  the  other  members. 
The  matter  is  then  settled  by  a  resolution,  which  the  lord  will  sanction 
f/^  or  reject  by  an  edict.  This  kind  of  collegiate  body  is  the  typical  form 
/^tA  .  in  which  the  ruler,  who  increasingly  turns  into  a  ^dilettante/  at  the  same 
time  exploits  expert  knowledge  and — what  frequently  remains  unnoticed 
— seeks  to  fend  off  the  overpowering  weight  of  expert  knowledge  and 
to  maintain  his  dominant  position  in  the  face  of  experts.  He  keeps  one 
expert  in  check  by  others  and  by  such  cumbersome  procedures  he  seeks 
personally  to  gain  a  comprehensive  picture  as  well  .as  the  certainty  that 
nobody  prompts  him  to  arbitrary  decisions.  Often  the  prince  expects  to 
assure  himself  a  maximum  of  personal  influence  less  from  personally 
presiding  over  the  collegiate  bodies  than  from  having  written  memo- 
randa submitted  to  him.  Frederick  William  I  of  Prussia  actually  exerted 
a  very  considerable  influence  on  the  administration,  but  he  almost  never 
attended  the  coUegiately  organized  sessions  of  the  cabinet  ministers!  He 
rendered  his  decisions  on  written  presentations  by  means  of  marginal 
comments  or  edicts.  These  decisions  were  delivered  to  the  ministers  by 
the  Feld jaeger  of  the  Cabinett,  after  consultation  with  those  servants  who 
belonged  to  the  cabinet  and  were  personnally  attached  to  the  king. 
The  hatred  of  the  bureaucratic  departments  turns  against  the  cabinet 
^  just  as  the  distrust  of  the  subjects  turns  against  the  bureaucrats  in  case 
of  failure.  The  cabinet  in  Russia,  as  well  as  in  Prussia  and  in  other 
states,  thus  developed  into  a  personal  fortress  in  which  the  ruler,  so  to 

*  Consdl  d'Etat,   Privy   Council,    Generaldirektoritim ,    Cabinett,   Divan,   Tsung-li   Yamen, 
Wai-wti  pti,  etc. 


speak,  sought  refuge  in  the  face  of  expert  knowledge  and  the  impersonal 
and  functional  routinization  of  administration. 

v^By  the  collegiate  principle  the  ruler  furthermore  tries  to  fashion  a  sort  T 
of  synthesis  of  specialized  experts  into  a  collective  unit.  His  success  in  \ 
doing  this  cannot  be  ascertained  in  general.  The  phenomenon  itself, 
however,  is  common  to  very  different  forms  of  state,  from  the  patri- 
monial and  feudal  to  the  early,  bureaucratic,  and  it  is  especially  typical 
for  early  princely  absolutism.  [The  collegiate  principle  has  proved  itself 
to  be  one  of  the  strongest  educative  means  for  'matter-of-factness'  in 
administration.  It  has  also  made  possible  the  drawing  in  of  socially 
influential  private  persons  and  thus  to  combine  in  some  measure  the 
authority  of  notables  and  the  practical  knowledge  of  private  enterprisers 
with  the  specialized  expertness  of  professional  bureaucrats.  The  collegiate 
bodies  were  one  of  the  first  institutions  to  allow  the  development  of  the 
modern  concept  of  'public  authorities,'  in  the  sense  of  enduring  struc- 
tures independent  of  the  person. 

As  long  as  an  expert  knowledge  of  administrative  affairs  was  the 
exclusive  product  of  a  long  empirical  practice^  and  administrative  norms 
were  not  regulations  but  elements  of  tradition,  the  council  of  elders — 
in  a  manner  typical  often  with  priests,  'elder  statesmen,'  and  notables 
participating — was  the  adequate  form  for  collegiate  authorities,  which 
in  the  beginning  merely  gave  advice  to  the  ruler.  But  as  such  bodies 
continued  to  exist  in  the  face  of  changing  rulers,  they  often  usurped  y 
actual  power.  The  Roman  Senate  and  the  Venetian  Council,  as  well  as 
the  Athenian  Areopag  until  its  downfall  and  replacement  by  the  rule  of 
the  demagogos  acted  in  this  manner.  We  must  of  course  sharply  distin- 
guish such  authorities  from  the  corporate  bodies  under  discussion  here. 
,.  In  spite  of  manifold  transitions,  collegiate  bodies,  as  a  type,  emerge  on 
the  basis  of  the  rational  specialization  of  functions  and  the  rule  of  expert  !  » 
knowledge.  On  the  other  hand,  they  must  be  distinguished  from  ad- 
visory bodies  selected  from  among  private  and  interested  circles,  which 
are  frequently  found  in  the  modern  state  and  whose  nucleus  is  not  formed 
of  officials  or  of  former  officials.  These  collegiate  bodies  must  also  be 
distinguished  sociologically  from  the  boards  of  control  found  in  the 
bureaucratic  structures  of  the  modern  private  economy  (economic  cor- 
porations). This  distinction  must  be  made  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  such 
corporate  bodies  not  infrequently  complete  themselves  by  drawing  in 
notables  from  among  disinterested  circles  for  the  sake  of  their  expert 
knowledge  or  in  order  to  exploit  them  for  representation  and  advertis- 

238  POWER 

ing.  Normally,  such  bodies  do  not  unite  holders  of  special  expert  knowl- 
edge but  rather  the  decisive  representatives  of  paramount  economic  inter- 
est groups,  especially  the  bank  creditors  of  the  enterprise — and  such 
men  by  no  means  hold  merely  advisory  positions.  They  have  at  least  a 
controlling  voice,  and  very  often  they  occupy  an  actually  dominant  posi- 
tion. They  are  to  be  compared  (not  without  some  distortion)  to  the 
assemblies  of  the  great  independent  holders  of  feudal  fiefs  and  offices 
and  other  socially  powerful  interest  groups  of  patrimonial  or  feudal 
polities.  Occasionally,  however,  these  have  been  the  precursors  of  the 
'councilors'  who  have  emerged  in  consequence  of  an  increased  intensity 
of  administration.  And  even  more  frequently  they  have  been  precursors 
of  corporations  of  legally  privileged  estates.  ^_.,»_«. 

With  great  regularity  the  bureaucratic  collegiate  principle'  has  been 
.  transferred  from  the  central  authority  to  the  most  varied  lower  authoji- 
tie^.  Within  locally  closed,  and  especially  within  urban  units,  collegiate 
administration  is  the  original  form  of  the  rule  of  notables,  as  was  indi- 
cated at  the  beginning  of  this  discussion.  Originally  it  worked  through 
elected,  later  on,  usually,  or  at  least  in  part,  through  co-opted  'coun- 
cilors,' collegiate  bodies  of  'magistrates,'  decuriones,  and  'jurors.'  Such 
bodies  are  a  normal  element  of  organized  'self-government,'  that  is,  the 
management  of  administrative  affairs  by  local  interest  groups  under  the 
control  of  the  bureaucratic  authorities  of  the  state.  The  above-mentioned 
examples  of  the  Venetian  Council  and  even  more  so  of  the  Roman  Sen- 
ate represent  transfers  of  notable  rule  to  great  overseas  empires.  Normally 

,such  a  rule  of  notables  is  rooted  in  local  political  associations.  Within 
if  .  .  .... 

/{the  bureaucratic  state,  collegiate  administration  disappears  as  soon  as 

''I  progress  in  the  means  of  communication  and  the  increasing  technical 
Jj  demands   of  administration   necessitate   quick   and    unambiguous   deci- 
l|  sions,  and  as  soon  as  the  dominant  motives  for  full  bureaucratization 
iPand  monocracy,  which  we  discussed  above,  push  to  the  fore.  Collegiate 
3  administration  disappears  when  from  the  point  of  view  of  the  ruler's 
Jl  interests  a  strictly  unified  administrative  leadership  appears  to  be  more 
important  than  thoroughness  in  the  preparation  of  administrative  deci- 
sions. This  is  the  case  as  soon  as  parliamentary  institutions  develop  and 
— usually  at  the  same  time — as  criticism  from  the  outside  and  publicity 

Under  these  modern  conditions  the  thoroughly  rationalized  system  of 
departmental  ministers  and  prefects,  as  in  France,  offers  significant  oppor- 
tunities for  pushing  the  old  forms  into  the  background.  Probably  the 


system  is  supplemented  by  the  calling  in  of  interest  groups  as  advisory 
bodies  recruited  from  among  the  economically  and  socially  most  influen- 
tial strata.  ;Trhis  practice,  which  I  have  mentioned  above,  is  increasingly 
frequent  and  gradually  may  well  be  ordered  more  formally. 

This  latter  development  seeks  especially  to  put  the  concrete  experience 
of  interest  groups  into  the  service  of  a  rational  administration  of  experdy 
trained  officials.  It  will  certainly  be  important  in  the  future  and  it  further 
increases  the  power  of  bureaucracy.  It  is  known  that  Bismarck  sought  to 
realize  the  plan  of  a  'national  economic  council'  as  a  means  of  power 
against  parliament.  Bismarck,  who  would  never  have  given  the  Reichstag 
the  right  of  investigation  in  the  sense  of  the  British  Parliament,  re- 
proached the  majority,  who  rejected  his  proposal,  by  stating  that  in  the 
interest  of  parliamentary  power  the  majority  sought  to  protect  officialdom 
from  becoming  'too  prudent.'  Discussion  of  the  position  of  organized 
interest  groups  within  the  administration,  which  may  be  in  the  offing, 
does  not  belong  in  this  context. 

Only  with  the  bureaucratization  of  the  state  and  of  law  in  general 
can  one  see  a  definite  possibility  of  separating  sharply  and  conceptually 
an  'objective'  legal  order  from  the  'subjective  rights'  of  the  individual  I* 
which  it  guarantees;  of  separating  'public'  law  from  'private'  law.  Public  '' 
law  regulates  the  interrelationships  of  public  authorities  and  their  rela- 
tionships with  the  'subjects';  private  law  regulates  the  relationships  of 
the  governed  individuals  among  themselves.  This  conceptual  separation 
presupposes  the  conceptual  separation  of  the  'state,'  as  an  abstract  bearer; 
of  sovereign  prerogatives  and  the  creator  of  'legal  norms,'  from  all  per- ; ! 
sonal  'authorizations'  of  individuals.  These  conceptual  forms  are  neces- 
sarily remote  from  the  nature  of  pre-bureaucratic,  and  especially  from 
patrimonial  and  feudal,  structures  of  authority.  This  conceptual  separa- 
tion of  private  and  public  was  first  conceived  and  realized  in  urban 
communities;  for  as  soon  as  their  officeholders  were  secured  by  periodic 
elections,  the  individual  power-holder,  even  if  he  was  in  the  highest 
position,  was  obviously  no  longer  identical  with  the  man  who  possessed 
authority  'in  his  own  right.'  Yet  it  was  left  to  the  complete  depersonaliza- 
tion  of   administrative  management   by  bureaucracy   and   the  rational 
systematization  of  law  to  realize  the  separation  of  public  and  private 
fully  and  in  principle. 

240  ^  POWER 

14:  The  'Rationalization'  of  Education  and  TrainIi«ig 

We  cannot  here  analyze  the  far-reaching  and  general  cultural  effects 

that  the  advance  of  the  rational  bureaucratic  structure  of  domination,  as 

such,  develops  quite  independently  of  the  areas  in  which  it  takes  hold. 

Naturally,  bureaucracy  promotes  a  'rationalist'  way  of  life,  but  the  con- 

^rcept  of  rationalism  allows  for  widely  differing  contents.  Quite  generally, 

!cne  can  only  say  that  the  bureaucratization  of  all  domination  very 
strongly  furthers  the  development  of  'rational  matter-oF-factness'  and 
■  the  personality  type  of  the  professional  expert.  This  has  far-reaching 
ramifications,  but  only  one  important  element  of  the  "pfoce5]r"can"be 
:  briefly  indicated  here:  its  effect  upon  the  nature  of  training  and  edu- 
,;  cation. 

Educational  institutions  on  the  European  continent,  especially  the 
institutions  of  higher  learning — the  universities,  as  well  as  technical 
academies,  business  colleges,  gymnasiums,  and  other  middle  schools — 
are  dominated  and  influenced  by  the  need  for  the  kind  of  'education' 
that  produces  a  system  of  special  examinations  and  the  trained  expert- 
ness  that  is  increasingly  indispensable  for  modern  bureaucracy. 

The  'special  examination,'  in  the  present  sense,  was  and  is  found  also 
outside  of  bureaucratic  structures  proper;  thus,  today  it  is  found  in  the 
'free'  professions  of  medicine  and  law  and  in  the  guild-organized  trades. 
Expert  examinations  are  neither  indispensable  to  nor  concomitant 
phenomena  of  bureaucratization.  The  French,  English,  and  American 
bureaucracies  have  for  a  long  time  foregone  such  examinations  entirely 
or  to  a  large  extent,  for  training  and  service  in  party  organizations  have 
made  up  for  them. 

'Democracy'  also  takes  an  ambivalent  stand  in  the  face  of  specialized 
examinations,  as  it  does  in  the  face  of  all  the  phenomena  of  bureaucracy 
— although  democracy  itself  promotes  these  developments.  Special  exam- 
inations, on  the  one  hand,  mean  or  appear  to  mean  a  'selection'  of. those 
who  quahfy  from  all  social  strata  rather  than  a  rule  by  notables.  On  the 
other  hand,  democracy  fears  that  a  merit  system  and  educational  certifi- 
cates will  result  in  a  privileged  'caste.'  Hence,  democracy  fights  against 
the  special-examination  system. 

The  special  examination  is  found  even  in  pre-bureaucratic  or  semi- 
bureaucratic  epochs.  Indeed,  the  regular  and  earliest  locus  of  special 
examinations  is  among  prebendally  organized  dominions.  Expectancies 


of  prebends,  first  of  church  prebends — as  in  the  Islamite  Orient  and  in 
the  Occidental  Middle  Ages — then,  as  was  especially  the  case  in  China, 
secular  prebends,  are  the  typical  prizes  for  which  people  study  and  are 
examined.  These  examinations,  however,  have  in  truth  only  a  partially 
specialized  and  expert  character. 

"^Thejnodern  development  ofjull  bureaucratization  brings  the^steng 
of  rational,  specialized,  jnd  expert  examinations  irresistibly  to  the  fore. , 
The  civil-service  reform  gradually  imports  expert  training  and  special- 
ized examinations  into  the  United  States.  In  all  other  countries  this 
system  also  advances,  stemming  from  its  main  breeding  place,  Germany. 
The  increasing  bureaucratization  of  administration  enhances  the  im- 
portance of  the  specialized  examination  in  England.  In  China,  the 
attempt  to  replace  the  semi-patrimonial  and  ancient  bureaucracy  by  a 
modern  bureaucracy  brought  the  expert  examination;  it  took  the  place 
of  a  former  and  quite  differently  structured  system  of  examinations.  The 
bureaucratization  of  capitalism,  with  its  demand  for  expertly  trained 
technicians,  clerks,  et  cetera,  carries  such  examinations  all  over  the  world. 
Above  all,  the  development  is  greatly  furthered  by  the  social  prestige  of 
the  educational  certificates  acquired  through  such  specialized  examina- 
tions. This  is  all  the  more  the  case  as  the  educational  patent  is  turned 
to  economic  advantage.  Today,  the  certificate  of  education  becomes  what 
the  test  for  ancestors  has  been  in  the  past,  at  least  where  the  nobility  has 
remained  powerful:  a  prerequisite  for  equality  of  birth,  a  qualification 
for  a  canonship,  and  for  state  office.  Vs©dt»  c>r5'»'«^**^*'* 

■^The  development  of  the  diploma  from  universities,  and  busiaess  and 
engineering  colleges,  and  the  universal  clamor  for  the  creation  of  educa- 
tional certificates  in  all  fields  make  for  the  formation  of  a  privileged 
stratum  in  bureaus  and  in  offices.  Such  certificates  support  their  holders' 
claims  for  intermarriages  with  notable  families  (in  BiTsIhess  offices  people 
naturally  hope  for  preferment  with  regafd'to  the  chief's  daughter), 
claims  to  be  admitted  into  the  circles  that  adhere  to  'codes  of  honor,' 
claims  for  a  'respectable'  remuneration  rather  than  remuneration  for 
work  done,  claims  for  assured  advancement  and  old-age  insurance,  and, 
above  all,  claims  to  monopolize  socially  and  economically  advantageous 
positions.  When  we  hear  from  all  sides  the  demand  for  an  introduction 
of  regular  curricula  and  special  examinations,  the  reason  behind  It  is,  of 
course,  not  a  suddenly  awakened  'thirst  for  education'  but  the  desire  for 
restricting  the  supply  for  these  positions  and  their  monopolization  by  the 
owners  of  educational  certificates.  Today,  the  'examination'  is  the  uni- 

242  POWER 

versal  means  of  this  monopolization,  and  therefore  examinations  irre- 
sistibly advance.  As  the  education  prerequisite  to  the  acquisition  of  the 
educational  certificate  requires  considerable  expense  and  a  period  of 
waiting  for  full  remuneration,!  this  striving  means  a  setback  for  talent 
(charisma)  in  favor  of  property.  For  the  'intellectual'  costs  of  educational 
certificates  are  always  low,  and  with  the  increasing  volume  of  such 
certificates,  their  intellectual  costs  do  not  increase,  but  rather  decrease. 

The  requirement  of  a  chivalrous  style  of  life  in  the  old  qualification 
for  fiefs  in  Germany  is  replaced  by  the  necessity  of  participating  in  its 
present  rudimental  form  as  represented  by  the  dueling  corps  of  the 
universities  which  also  distribute  the  educational  certificates.  In  Anglo- 
Saxon  countries,  athletic  and  social  clubs  fulfil  the  same  function.  The 
'  -'  bureaucracy,  on  the  other  hand,  strives  everywhere  for  a  'right  to  the 
office'  by  the  establishment  of  a  regular  disciplinary  procedure  and  by 
removal  of  the  completely  arbitrary  disposition  of  the  'chief  over  the 
subordinate  official.  The  bureaucracy  seeks  to  secure  the  official  position, 
the  orderly  advancement,  and  the  provision  for  old  age. '  In  this,  the 
bureaucracy  is  supported  by  the  'democratic'  sentiment  of  the  governed, 
which  demands  that  domination  be  minimized.  Those  who  hold  this 
attitude  believe  themselves  able  to  discern  a  weakening  of  the  master's 
prerogatives  in  every  weakening  of  the  arbitrary  disposition  of  the  mas- 
ter over  the  officials.  To  this  extent,  bureaucracy,  both  in  business  offices 
and  in  public  service,  is  a  carriernof^^petifiL  'status'  de^elopme_nt,  as 
have  been  the  quite  differently  structured  officeholders  of  the  past.  We 
have  already  pointed  out  that  these  status  characteristics  are  usually  also 
exploited,  and  that  by  their  nature  they  contribute  to  the  technical  use- 
fulness of  the  bureaucracy  in  fulfilling  its  specific  tasks. 
,      'Democracy'  reacts  precisely  against  the  unavoidable  'status'  character 
!  of  bureaucracy.  Democracy  seeks  to  put  the  election  of  officials  for  short 
I  terms  In  the  place  of  appointed  officials;  it  seeks  to  substitute  the  removal 
I  of  officials  by  election  for  a  regulated  procedure  of  discipline.  Thus, 
4  democracy  seeks  to  replace  the  arbitrary  disposition  of  the  hierarchically 
*"  ^.  superordinate  'master'  by  the  equally  arbitrary  disposition  of  the  gov- 
1  erned  and  the  party  chiefs  dominating  them. 

Social  prestige  based  upon  the  advantage  of  special  education  and 

training  as  such  is  by  no  means  specific  to  bureaucracy.  On  the  contrary! 

But  educational  prestige  in  other  structures  of  domination  rests  upon 

substantially  different  foundations.  .  i 

Expressed   in   slogan-like  fashion,   the  'cultivated  man,'  rather   than 


the  'specialist,'  has  been  the  end  sought  by  education  and  has  formed 
the  basis  of  social  esteem  in  such  various  systems  as  the  feudal,  theo- 
cratic, and  patrimonial  structures  of  dominion:  in  the  English  notable 
administration,  in  the  old  Chinese  patrimonial  bureaucracy,  as  well  as 
under  the  rule  of  demagogues  in  the  so-called  Hellenic  democracy. 
^,The  term  'cultivated  man'  is  used  here  in  a  completely  value-neutral 
sense;  it  is  understood  to  mean  solely  that  the  goal  of  education  con- 
sists in  the  quality  of  a  man's  bearing  in  life  which  was  considered 
'cultivated,'  rather  than  in  a  specialized  training  for  expertness.  The 
'cultivated'  personality  formed  the  educational  ideal,  which  was  stamped 
by  the  structure  of  domination  and  by  the  social  condition  for  member- 
ship in  the  ruhng  stratum.  Such  education  aimed  at  a  chivalrous  or  an 
ascetic  type;  or,  at  a  literary  type,  as  in  China;  a  gymnastic-humanist 
type,  as  in  Hellas;  or  it  aimed  at  a  conventional  type,  as  in  the  case  of 
the  Anglo-Saxon  gentleman.  The  quaHfication  of  the  ruling  stratum  as 
such  rested  upon  the  possession  of  'more'  cultural  quality  (in  the  abso- 
lutely changeable,  value-neutral  sense  in  which  we  use  the  term  here), 
rather  than  upon  'more'  expert  knowledge.  Special  military,  theological, 
and  juridical  abihty  was  of  course  intensely  practiced;  but  the  point  of 
gravity  in  Hellenic,  in  medieval,  as  well  as  in  Chinese  education,  has 
rested  upon  educational  elements  that  were  entirely  different  from  what 
was  'useful'  in  one's  specialty. 

Behind  all  the  present  discussions  of  the  foundations  of  the  educa- 
tional system,  the  struggle  of  the  'specialist  type  of  man'  against  the  older 
type  of  'cultivated  man'  is  hidden  at  some  decisive  point.  This  fight  is 
determined  by  the  irresistibly  expanding  bureaucratization  of  all  public 
and  private  relations  of  authority  and  by  the  ever-increasing  importance 
of  expert  and  specialized  knowledge.  This  fight  intrudes  into  all  intimate 
cultural  questions. 

During  its  advance,  bureaucratic  organization  has  had  to  overcome 
those  essentially  negative  obstacles  that  have  stood  in  the  way  of  the  level- 
ing process  necessary  for  bureaucracy.  In  addition,  administrative  struc- 
tures based  on  different  principles  intersect  with  bureaucratic  organiza- 
tions. Since  these  have  been  touched  upon  above,  only  some  especially  im- 
portant structural  fiinciples  will  be  briefly  discussed  here  in  a  very  simpli- 
fied schema.  We  would  be  led  too  far  afield  were  we  to  discuss  all  the 
actually  existing  types.  We  shall  proceed  by  asking  the  following  ques- 
tions : 

I.  How  far  are  administrative  structures  subject  to  economic  determina- 

244  POWER 

tion?  Or,  how  far  are  opportunities  for  development  created  by  other 
circumstances,  for  instance,  the  purely  political?  Or,  finally,  how  far  are 
developments  created  by  an  'autonomous'  logic  that  is  solely  of  the  tech- 
nical structure  as  such? 

2.  We  shall  ask  whether  or  not  these  structural  principles^  in  turn,  re- 
lease specific  economic  effects,  and  if  so,  what  effects.  In  doing  this,  one 
of  course  from  the  beginning  has  to  keep  his  eye  on  the  fluidity  and  the 
overlapping  transitions  of  all  these  organizational  principles.  Their  'pure' 
types,  after  all,  are  to  be  considered  merely  as  border  cases  which  are 
especially  valuable  and  indispensable  for  analysis.  Historical  realities, 
which  almost  always  appear  in  mixed  forms,  have  moved  and  still  move 
between  such  pure  types. 

The  bureaucratic  structure  is  everywhere  a  late  product  of  development. 
The  further  back  we  trace  our  steps,  the  more  typical  is  the  absence  of 
bureaucracy  and  officialdom  in  the  stru':ture  of  domination.  Bureaucracy 
has  a  'rational'  character :  rules,  means,  ends,  and  matter-of-factness  domi- 
nate its  bearing.  Everywhere  its  origin  and  its  diffusion  have  therefore 
had  'revolutionary'  results,  in  a  special  sense,  which  has  still  to  be  discussed. 
This  is  the  same  influence  which  the  advance  of  rationalism  in  general  , 
has  had.  The  march  of  bureaucracy  has  destroyed  structures  of  domination  '' 
which  had  no  rational  character,  in  the  special  sense  of  the  term.  Hence, 
we  may  ask :  What  were  these  structures  ?  * 

*  In  chapters  following  the  present  one  in  Wirtschajt  iind  Gesellschaft,  Weber  discusses 
Patriarchialism,  Patrimonialism,  Feudalism,  and  Charismatic  Authority.  Chapter  ix  of  the 
present  volume  presents  a  short  discussion  of  charismatic  authority.  For  comments  on  the 
other   concepts,   see    the   end    of   Chapter    xi.    For    the    way    in    which    Weber   analyzes   a  ' 
specific  bureaucracy  in  terms  of  intersecting  structural   principles,   sec  Chapter  xvii. 

iJL.    Ine  Oociology  ol  C^narisniatic  Autnority 

I :  The  General  Character  of  Charisma 

Bureaucratic  and  patriarchal  structures  are  antagonistic  in  many  ways, 
yet  theyjiave  in  common  a  most  important  peculiarity:  permanience.  In 
this  respect  they  are  both  institutions  of  daily  routine.'Patriarchal  power 
especially  is  rooted  in  the  provisioning  of  recurrent  and  normal  needs  of 
the  workaday  life.  Patriarchal  authority  thus  has  its  original  locus  in  the 
economy,  that  is,  in  those  branches  of  the  economy  that  can  be  satisfied 
by  means  of  normal  routine.  The  patriarch  is  the  'natural  leader'  of  the 
daily  routine.  And  in  this  respect,  the  bureaucratic  structure  is  only  the 
counter-image  of  patriarchalism  transposed  into  rationality.  As  a  per- 
manent structure  with  a  system  of  rational  rules,  bureaucracy  is  fashioned 
to  meet  calculable  and  recurrent  needs  by  means  of  a  normal  routine. 

The  provisioning  of  all  demands  that  go  beyond  those  of  everyday 
routine  has  had,  in  principle,  an  entirely  heterogeneous,  namely,  a 
charismatic,  foundation;  the  further  back  we  look  in  history,  the  more 
we  find  this  to  be  the  case.  This  means  that  the  'natural'  leaders — in 
times  of  psychic,  physical,  economic,  ethical,  religious,  political  distress — 
have  been  neither  officeholders  nor  incumbents  of  an  'occupation'  in  the 
present  sense  of  the  word,  that  is,  men  who  have  acquired  expert  knowl- 
edge and  who  serve  for  remuneration.  The  natural  leaders  in  distress 
have  been  holders  of  specific  gifts  of  the  body  and  spirit;  and  these  gifts 
have  been  believed  to  be  supernatural,  not  accessible  to  everybody.  The 
concept  of  'charisma'  is  here  used  in  a  completely  'value-neutral'  sense. 

The  capacity  of  the  Irish  culture  hero,  Cuchulain,  or  of  the  Homeric 
Achilles  for  heroic  frenzy  is  a  manic  seizure,  just  as  is  that  of  the 
Arabian  berserk  who  bites  his  shield  like  a  mad  dog — biting  around  until 
he  darts  off  in  raving  bloodthirstiness.  For  a  long  time  it  has  been  main- 
tained that  the  seizure  of  the  berserk  is  artificially  produced  through 

Wirtschuft  unci  Gesellscliujt,  part  in,  chap,  g,  pp.  753-7. 


246  POWER 

acute  poisoning.  In  Byzantium,  a  number  of  'blond  beasts,'  disposed  to 
such  seizures,  were  kept  about,  just  as  war  elephants  were  formerly  kept. 
Shamanist  ecstasy  is  linked  to  constitutional  epilepsy,  the  possession  and 
the  testing  of  which  represents  a  charismatic  qualification.  Hence  neither 
is  'edifying'  to  our  minds.  They  are  just  as  little  edifying  to  us  as  is  the 
kind  of  'revelation,'  for  instance,  of  the  Sacred  Book  of  the  Mormons, 
which,  at  least  from  an  evaluative  standpoint,  perhaps  would  have  to  be 
called  a  'hoax.'  But  sociology  is  not  concerned  with  such  questions.  In 
the  faith  of  their  followers,  the  chief  of  the  Mormons  has  proved  himself 
to  be  charismatically  qualified,  as  have  'heroes'  and  'sorcerers.'  All  of 
them  have  practiced  their  arts  and  ruled  by  virtue  of  this  gift  (charisma) 
and,  where  the  idea  of  God  has  already  been  clearly  conceived,  by  virtue 
of  the  divine  mission  lying  therein.  This  holds  for  doctors  and  prophets, 
just  as  for  judges  and  military  leaders,  or  for  leaders  of  big  hunting 

It  is  to  his  credit  that  Rudolf  Sohm  brought  out  the  sociological  pecu- 
liarity of  this  category  of  domination-structure  for  a  historically  important 
special  case,  namely,  the  historical  development  of  the  authority  of  the 
early  Christian  church.  Sohm  performed  this  task  with  logical  con- 
sistency, and  hence,  by  necessity,  he  was  one-sided  from  a  purely  historical 
point  of  view.  In  principle,  however,  the  very  same  state  of  affairs  recurs 
universally,  although  often  it  is  most  clearly  developed  in  the  field  of 

In  contrast  to  any  kind  of  bureaucratic  organization  of  offices,  the 
charismatic  structure  knows  nothing  of  a  form  or  oF  an  ordered  pro- 
cedure  of  appointment  or  dismissal.  It  knows  no  regulated  'career,'  'ad- 
vancement,' 'salary,'  or  regulated  and  expert  training  of  the  holder  of 
charisma  or  of  his  aids.  It  knows  no  agency  of  control  or  appeal,  no 
local  bailiwicks  or  exclusive  functional  jurisdictions;  nor  does  it  embrace 
permanent  institutions  like  our  bureaucratic  'departments,'  which  are 
independent  of  persons  and  of  purely  personal  charisma. 
"f  Charisma^ knows  only  inner  determination  and  inner  restraint.  The 
holder,  of  charisma  seizes  the  task  that  is  adequate  for  him  and  demands 
obedience  and  a  following  by  virtue  of  his  mission.  His  success  deter- 
mines whether  he  finds  them.  His  charismatic  claim  breaks  down  if  his 
mission  is  not  recognized  by  those  to  whom  he  feels  he  has  been  sent. 
If  they  recognize  him,  he  is  their  master — so  long  as  he  knows  how  to 
maintain  recognition  through  'proving'  himself.^^But  he  does  not  derive 
his  'right'  from  their  will,  in  the  manner  of  an  election.  Rather,  the 


reverse  holds :  it  is  the  duty  of  those  to  whom  he  addresses  his  mission 
tor^cognize  him  as  their  charismatically  qualified  leader.  /^ 

In  Chinese  theory,  the  emperor's  prerogatives  are  made  dependent 
upon  the  recognition  of  the  people.  But  this  does  not  mean  recognition 
of  the  sovereignty  of  the  people  any  more  than  did  the  prophet's  neces- 
sity of  getting  recognition  from  the  believers  in  the  early  Christian  com- 
munity. The  Chinese  theory,  rather,  characterizes  the  charismatic  nature 
of  the  monarch's  position,  which  adheres  to  his  personal  qualification 
and  to  his  proved  worth. 

Charisma  can  be,  and  of  course  regularly  is,  qualitatively  particular- 
ized. This  is  an  internal  rather  than  an  external  affair,  and  results  in  the' 
quahtative  barrier  of  the  charisma  holder's  mission  and  power.  In  mean- 
ing and  in  content  the  mission  may  be  addressed  to  a  group  of  men  who 
are  delimited  locally,  ethnically,  socially,  politically,  occupationally,  or  in 
some  other  way.  If  the  mission  is  thus  addressed  to  a  hmited  group  of 
men,  as  is  the  rule,  it  finds  its  limits  within  their  circle. 

In  its  economic  sub-structure,  as  in  everything  else,  charismatic  dom- 
ination is  the  very  opposite  of  bureaucratic  domination.  If  bureaucratic 
domination  depends  upon  regular  income,  and  hence  at  least  a  potiori 
on  a  money  economy  and  money  taxes,  charisma  lives  in,  though  not  off, 
this  world.  This  has  to  be  properly  understood.  Frequently  charisma 
quite  deliberately  shuns  the  possession  of  money  and  of  pecuniary  income 
per  se,  as  did  Saint  Francis  and  many  of  his  like;  but  this  is  of  course 
not  the  rule.  Even  a  pirate  genius  may  exercise  a  'charismatic'  domina- 
tion, in  the  value-neutral  sense  intended  here.  Charismatic  political  heroes 
seek  booty  and,  above  all,  gold.  But  charisma,  and  this  is  decisive,  always 
rejects  as  undignified  any  pecuniary  gain  that  is  methodical  and  rational. 
In  general,  charisma  rejects  all  rational  economic  conduct. 

The  sharp  contrast  between  charisma  and  any  'patriarchal'  structure 
that  rests  upon  the  ordered  base  of  the  'household'  lies  in  this  rejection 
of  rational  economic  conduct.  In  its  'pure'  form,  charisma  is  never  a 
source  of  private  gain  for  its  holders  in  the  sense  of  economic  exploita- 
tion by  the  making  of  a  deal.  Nor  is  it  a  source  of  income  in  the  form  of 
pecuniary  compensation,  and  just  as  little  does  it  involve  an  orderly  taxa- 
tion for  the  material  requirements  of  its  mission.  If  the  mission  is  one  of 
peace,  individual  patrons  provide  the  necessary  means  for  charismatic 
structures;  or  those  to  whom  the  charisma  is  addressed  provide  honorific 
gifts,  donations,  or  other  voluntary  contributions.  In  the  case  of  charis- 
matic warrior  heroes,  booty  represents  one  of  the  ends  as  well  as  the 


248  POWER 

material  means  of  the  mission.  'Pure'  charisma  is  contrary  to  all  patri- 
archal domination  (in  the  sense  of  the  term  used  here).  It  is  the  opposite 
of  all  ordered  economy.  It  is  the  very  force  that  disregards  economy.  This 
also  holds,  indeed  precisely,  where  the  charismatic  leader  is  after  the 
acquisition  of  goods,  as  is  the  case  with  the  charismatic  warrior  hero. 
Charisma  can  do  this  because  by  its  very  nature  it  is  not  an  'institutional' 
and  permanent  structure,  but  rather,  where  its  'pure'  type  is  at  work,  it 
is^the  very  opposite  of  the  institutionally  permanent. 
A  In  order  to  do  justice  to  their  mission,  the  holders  of  charisma,  the 
master  as  well  as  his  disciples  and  followers,  must  stand  outside  the  ties 
of  iRls  world,  outside  of  routine  occupations,  as  well  as  outside  the  rou- 
tine  obligations  of  family  life.  Bf  he  statutes  of  the  Jesuit  order  precTudeThe 
acceptance  of  church  offices;  the  members  of  orders  are  forbidden  to 
own  property  or,  according  to  the  original  rule  of  St.  Francis,  the  order 
as  such  is  forbidden  to  do  so.  The  priest  and  the  knight  of  an  order  have 
to  live  in  celibacy,  and  numerous  holders  of  a  prophetic  or  artistic  char- 
isma are  actually  single.  All  this  is  indicative  of  the  unavoidable  separa- 
tion from  this  world  of  those  who  partake  ('viiriQog')  of  charisma.  In  these 
respects,  the  economic  conditions  of  participation  in  charisma  may  have 
an  (apparently)  antagonistic  appearance,  depending  upon  the  type  of 
charisma — artistic  or  religious,  for  instance — and  the  way  of  life  flowing 
from  its  meaning.  Modern  charismatic  movements  of  artistic  origin  rep- 
resent 'independents  without  gainful  eniployment'  (in  everyday  language, 
rentiers).  Normally  such  persons  are  the  best  qualified  to  follow  a  charis- 
matic leader.  This  is  just  as  logically  consistent  as  was  the  medieval  friar's 
vow  of  poverty,  which  demanded  the  very  opposite. 

2:  Foundations  and  Instability  of  Charismatic  Authority 

By  its  very  nature,  the  existence  of  charismatic  authority  is  specifically 
unstable.  The  holder  may  forego  his  charisma;  he  may  feel  'forsaken  by 
his  God,'  as  Jesus  did  on  the  cross;  he  may  prove  to  his  followers  that 
'virtue  is  gone  out  of  him.'  It  is  then  that  his  mission  is  extinguished, 
and  hope  waits  and  searches  for  a  new  holder  of  charisma.  The  charis- 
matic holder  is  deserted  by  his  following,  however,  (only)  because  pure 
charisma  does  not  know  any  'legitimacy'  other  than  that  flowing  from 
personal  strength,  that  is,  one  which  is  constantly  being  proved.  The 
charismatic  hero  does  not  deduce  his  authority  from  codes  and  statutes, 
as  is  the  case  with  the  jurisdiction  of  office;  nor  does  he~deduce~his 


authority  from  tradkional  custom  or  feudal  vows  of  faith,  as  is  the 
case  with  patrimonial  power. 

The^chansjiiaticjeader  gains  and  maintains  authority  solely  by  proving 
his  strength  in  life.  If  he  wants  to  be  a  prophet,  lie  must  perform  mira-  ,1 
cles;  if  he  wants  to  be  a  war  lord,  he  must  perform  heroic  deeds.  Above- 
all,  however,  [his  divine  mission  must  'prove'  itself  in  that  those  who 
faithfully  surrender  to  him  must  fare  well.  If  they  do  not  fare  well,  he  is 
obviously  not  the  master  sent  by  the  gods. 

This  very  serious  meaning  of  genuine  charisma  evidently  stands  in  radi- 
cal contrast  to  the  convenient  pretensions  of  present  rulers  to  a  'divine 
right  of  kings,'  with  its  reference  to  the  'inscrutable'  will  of  the  Lord, 
'to  whom  alone  the  monarch  is  responsible.'  The  genuinely  charismatic 
ruler  is  responsible  p^^cisel^Mtojhose  whom  he  rules.  He  is  responsible, 
for  but  one  thing,  that  he  personally  and  actually  be  the  God-willed_ 

During  these  last  decades  we  have  witnessed  how  the  Chinese  mon- 
arch impeaches  himself  before  all  the  people  because  of  his  sins  and 
insufficiencies  if  his  administration  does  not  succeed  in  warding  off  some 
distress  from  the  governed,  whether  it  is  inundations  or  unsuccessful 
wars.  Thus  does  a  ruler  whose  power,  even  in  vestiges  and  theoretically, 
is  genuinely  charismatic  deport  himself.  And  if  even  this  penitence  does 
not  reconcile  the  deities,  the  charismatic  emperor  faces  dispossession  and 
death,  which  often  enough  is  consummated  as  a  propitiatory  sacrifice. 

Meng-tse's  (Mencius')  thesis  that  the  people's  voice  is  'God's  voice' 
(according  to  him  the  only  way  in  which  God  speaks!)  has  a  very  specific 
meaning:  if  the  people  cease  to  recognize  the  ruler,  it  is  expressly  stated 
that  he  simply  becomes  a  private  citizen;  and  if  he  then  wishes  to  be 
more,  he  becomes  a  usurper  deserving  of  punishment.  The  state  of  affairs 
that  corresponds  to  these  phrases,  which  sound  highly  revolutionary, 
recurs  under  primitive  conditions  without  any  such  pathos.  The  charis- 
matic character  adheres  to  almost  all  primitive  authorities  with  the  excep- 
tion of  domestic  power  in  the  narrowest  sense,  and  the  chieftain  is  often 
enough  simply  deserted  if  success  does  not  remain  faithful  to  him. 

The  subjects  may  extend  a  more  active  or  passive  'recognition'  to  the 
personal  mission  of  the  charismatic  master.  His  power  rests  upon  this 
purely  factual  recognition  and  springs  from  faithful  devotion.  It  is  devo- 
tion to  the  extraordinary  and  unheard-of,  to  what  is  strange  to  all  rule 
and  tradition  and  which  therefore  is  viewed  as  divine.  It  is  a  devotion 
born  of  distress  and  enthusiasm. 

250  POWER 

Genuine  charismatic  domination  therefore  knows  of  no  abstract  legal 
codes  and  statutes  and  of  no  'formal'  way  of  adjudication.  Its  'objective' 
law  emanates  concretely  from  the  highly  personal  experience  of  heavenly 
grace  and  from  the  god-like  strength  of  the  hero.  Charismatic  domination 
means  a  rejection  of  all  ties  to  any  external  order  k\  favor  of  the  exclustVe_ 
glorification  of  the  genuine  mentality  of  the  prophet  and  hero.  Hence,  its 
attitude  is  revolutionary  and  transvalues  everything;  it  makes  a  sovereign 
break  with  all  traditional  or  rational  norms:  'It  is  written,  but  T  say  iin.tP 

The  specifically  charismatic  form  of  settling  disputes  is  by  way  of  the 
prophet's  revelation,  by  way  of  the  oracle,  or  by  way  of  'Solomonic'  arbi- 
tration by  a  charismatically  qualified  sage.  This  arbitration  is  determined 
by  means  of  strictly  concrete  and  individual  evaluations,  which,  however, 
claim  absolute  validity.  Here  lies  the  proper  locus  of  'Kadi-justice'  in  the 
proverbial — not  the  historical — sense  of  the  phrase.  In  its  actual  historical 
appearance  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Islamic  Kadi  is,  of  course,  bound  to 
sacred  tradition  and  is  often  a  highly  formalistic  interpretation. 

Only  where  these  intellectual  tools  fail  does  jurisdiction  rise  to  an 
unfettered  individual  act  valuing  the  particular  .case;  but  then  it  does 
indeed.  Genuinely  charismatic  justice  always  acts  in  this  manner.  In  its 
pure  form  it  is  the  polar  opposite  of  formal  and  traditional  bonds,  and 
it  is  just  as  free  in  the  face  of  the  sanctity  of  tradition  as  it  is  in  the  face 
of  any  rationalist  deductions  from  abstract  concepts. 

This  is  not  the  place  to  discuss  how  the  reference  to  the  aegum  et 
bonum  in  the  Roman  administration  of  justice  and  the  original  meaning 
of  English  'equity'  are  related  to  charismatic  justice  in  general  and  to  the 
theocratic  Kadi-justice  of  Islamism  in  particular.^  Both  the  aegum  et 
bonum  and  'equity'  are  partly  the  products  of  a  strongly  rationalized 
administration  of  justice  and  partly  the  product  of  abstract  conceptions 
of  natural  Jaw.  In  any  case  the  ex  bona  fide  contains  a  reference  to  the 
'mores'  of  business  Ufe  and  thus  retains  just  as  little  of  a  genuine  irrational 
justice  as  does,  for  instance,  the  German  judge's  'free  discretion.' 

Any  kind  of  ordeal  as  a  means  of  evidence  is,  of  course,  a  derivative  of 
charismatic  justice.  But  the  ordeal  displaces  the  personal  authority  of  the 
holder  of  charisma  by  a  mechanism  of  rules  for  formally  ascertaining  the 
divine  will.  This  falls  in  the  sphere  of  the  'routinization'  of  charisma, 
with  which  we  shall  deal  below. 

the  sociology  of  charismatic  authority  25i 

3:  Charismatic  Kingship 

In  the  evolution  of  political  charisma,  kingship  represents  a  particularly 
important  case  in  the  historical  development  of  the  charismatic  legiti- 
mization of  institutions.  The  king  is  everywhere  primarily  a  war  lord,  and 
kingship  evolves  from  charismatic  heroism. 

In  the  form  it  displays  in  the  history  of  civilized  peoples,  kingship  is 
not  the  oldest  evolutionary  form  of  'political'  domination.  By  'pofiTical" 
domination  is  meant  a  power  that  reaches  beyond  and  which  is,  in 
principle,  distinct  from  domestic  authority»  It  is  distinct  because,  in  the 
first  place,  it  is  not  devoted  to  leading  the  peaceful  struggle  of  man  with 
nature;  it  is,  rather,  devoted  to  leading  in  the  violent  conflict  of  one 
human  community  with  another. 

The  predecessors  of  kingship  were  the  holders  of  all  those  charismatic 
powers  that  guaranteed  to  remedy  extraordinary  external  and  internal 
distress,  or  guaranteed  the  success  of  extraordinary  ventures.y  The  chief- 
tain of  early  history,  the  predecessor  of  kingship,  is  still  a  dual  figure. 
On  the  one  hand,  he  is  the  patriarchal  head  of  the  family  or  sib,  and  on 
the  other,  he  is  the  charismatic  leader  of  the  hunt  and  war,  the  sorcerer, 
the  rainmaker,  the  medicine  man — and  thus  the  priest  and  the  doctor — 
and  finally,  the  arbiter.  Often,  yet  not  always,  such  charismatic  functions 
are  spht  into  as  many  special  holders  of  charisma.  Rather  frequently  the 
chieftain  of  the  hunt  and  of  war  stands  beside  the  chieftain  of  peace,  who 
has  essentially  economic  functions.  In  contrast  to  the  latter,  the  chieftain 
of  war  acquires  his  charisma  by  proving  his  heroism  to  a  voluntary  fol- 
lowing in  successful  raids  leading  to  victory  and  booty.  Even  the  royal 
Assyrian  inscriptions  enumerate  booties  of  the  hunt  and  cedars  from 
Lebanon — dragged  along  for  building  purposes — alongside  figures  on  the 
slain  enemies  and  the  size  of  the  walls  of  conquered  cities,  which  are 
covered  with  skins  peeled  off  the  enemies. 

The  charismatic  position j[a_mong  primjtives)_  isjhus  acquired^witJiDUt 
regard  to  position  in  the  sibs  or  domestic  communities  and  without  any 
ruleT^hals^everV  This  duahsm  of  charisma  and  everyday  routine  is  very 
frequently  found  among  the  American  Indians,  for  instance,  among  the 
Confederacy  of  the  Iroquois,  as  well  as  in  Africa  and  elsewhere. 

Where  war  and  the  big  game  hunt  are  absent^,  the  charismatic  chieftain 
— the  'war  lord'  as  we  wish  to  call  him,  in  contrast  to  the  chieftain  of 
peace — is  absent  as  well.  In  peacetime,  especially  if  elemental  calamities. 

252  POWER 

particularly  drought  and  diseases,  are  frequent,  a  charismatic  sorcerer 
may  have  an  essentially  similar  power  in  his  hands.  He  is  a  priestly  lord. 
The  charisma  of  the  war  lord  may  or  may  not  be  unstable  in  nature 
according  to  whether  or  not  he  proves  himself  and  whether  or  not  there 
is  any  need  for  a  war  lord.  He  becomes  a  permanent  figure  when  war- 
fare becomes  a  chronic  state  of  affairs.  It  is  a  mere  terminological  question 
whether  one  wishes  to  let  kingship,  and  with  it  the  state,  begin  only 
when  strangers  are  affiliated  with  and  integrated  into  the  community  as 
subjects.  For  our  purposes  it  will  be  expedient  to  continue  delimiting  the 
term  'state'  far  more  narrowly. 
f  The  existence  of  the  war  lord  as  a  regular  figure  certainly  does  not 
/>/^  depend  upon  a  tribal  rule  over  subjects  of  other  tribes  or  upon  individual 
'""  slaves.  His  existence  depends  solely  upon  a  chronic  state  of  war  and  upon 
a  comprehensive  organization  set  for  warfare.  On  the  other  hand,  the 
development  of  kingship  into  a  regular  royal  administration  does  emerge 
only  at  the  stage  when  a  following  of  royal  professional  warriors  rules 
over  the  working  or  paying  masses;  at  least,  that  is  often  the  case.  The 
forceful  subjection  of  strange  tribes,  however,  is  not  an  absolutely  indis- 
pensable link  in  this  development.  Internal  class  stratification  may  bring 
about  the  very  same  social  differentiation:  the  charismatic  following  of 
warriors  develops  into  a  ruling  caste.  But  in  every  case,  princely  power 
and  those  groups  having  interests  vested  in  it — that  is,  the  war  lord's 
following — strive  for  legitimacy  as  soon  as  the  rule  has  become  stable. 
They  crave  for  a  characteristic  which  would  define  the  charismatically 
qualified  ruler.^ 

JC.    Ine  M^eanin^  ol  Discipli 



It  is  the  fate  of  charisma,  whenever  it  comes  into  the  permanent  institu- 
tions of  a  community,  to  give  way  to  powers  o£  tradition  or  of  rational 
sociaHzation.  This  waning 'of  charisma  generally  indicates  the  dimin- 
ishing importance  of  individual  action.  And  of  all  those  powers  that 
lessen  the  importance  of  individual  action,  the  most  irresistible  is  rational 
discipline. ' 

The  force  of  discipline  not  only  eradicates  personal  charisma  but  also 
stratification  by  status  groups;  at  least  one  of  its  results  is  the  rational 
transformation  of  status  stratification. 

The  content  of  discipline  is  nothing  but  the  consistently  rationalized, 
methodically  trained  and  exact  execution  of  the  received  order,  in 
which  all  personal  criticism  is  unconditionally  suspended  and  the  actor 
is  unswervingly  and  exclusively  set  for  carrying  out  the  command.  In 
addition,  this  conduct  under  orders  is  uniform.  Its  quality  as  the  com- 
munal action  af  a  mass  organization  conditions  the  specific  effects  of  such 
uniformity.  Those  who  obey  are  not  necessarily  a  simultaneously  obedient 
or  an  especially  large  mass,  nor  are  they  necessarily  united  in  a  specific 
locality.  What  is  decisive  for  discipline  is  that  the  obedience  of  a  plurality 
of  men  is  rationally  uniform. 

Discipline  as  such  is  certainly  not  hostile  to  charisma  or  to  status  group 
honor.  On  the  contrary,  status  groups  that  are  attempting  to  rule  over 
large  territories  or  large  organizations — the  Venetian  aristocratic  coun- 
selors, the  Spartans,  the  Jesuits  in  Paraguay,  or  a  modern  officer  corps 
with  a  prince  at  its  head — can  maintain  their  alertness  and  their  superior- 
ity over  their  subjects  only  by  means  of  a  very  strict  discipline.  This  dis- 
cipline is  enforced  within  their  own  group,  for  the  blind  obedience  of 
subjects  can  be  secured  only  by  training  them  exclusively  for  submission 
under  the  disciplinary  code.  The  cultivation  of  a  stereotyped  prestige  and 
style  of  life  of  a  status  group,  only  for  reasons  of  discipline,  will  have  a 

'Legitimacy,'  Wirtschajt  und  Gesellschaft,  part  in,  chap.  5,  pp.  642-9. 


254  POWER 

Strongly  conscious  and  rationally  intended  character.  This  factor  effects 
all  culture  in  any  way  influenced  by  these  status  communities;  we  shall 
not  discuss  these  effects  here.  A  charismatic  hero  may  make  use  of  dis- 
cipline in  the  same  way;  indeed,  he  must  do  so  if  he  wishes  to  expand 
his  sphere  of  domination.  Thus  Napoleon  created  a  strict  disciplinary 
organization  for  France,  which  is  still  effective  today. 

Discipline  in  general,  like  its  most  rational  offspring,  bureaucracy,  is 
impersonal.  Unfailingly  neutral,  it  places  itself  at  the  disposal  of  every 
power  that  claims  its  service  and  knows  how  to  promote  it.  This  does  not 
prevent  bureaucracy  from  being  intrinsically  alien  and  opposed  to  char- 
isma, as  well  as  to  honor,  especially  of  a  feudal  sort.  The  berserk  with 
maniac  seizures  of  frenzy  and  the  feudal  knight  who  measures  swords 
with  an  equal  adversary  in  order  to  gain  personal  honor  are  equally  alien 
to  discipline.  The  berserk  is  alien  to  it  because  hi''  ^rUQV  '"  Irratinnal; 
the  knight  Kpransp  Klf.  ■cnhjprfrivp  -atUtuAo  Inrlci  m.'ittpr-rif-fartnpss.  In 
place  of  indiyidii?^]  hern-ecstasy_Qr  piety.  Qf,spirited  enthusiasm  or  devo- 
tion  to  a  leader  as  a  persojL.^f  the  cujt  of  'honor,'  or  the  exercise  of 
personal  ability  asan^rt'— discipline-snbstiiutes  habituation  to  routinized 
skill.  In  so  far  as  discipline  appeals  to  firm  motives  of  an  'ethical'  char- 
acter, it  presupposes  a  'sense  of  duty'  and  'conscientiousness.'  ('Men  of 
Conscience'  versus  'Men  of  Honor,'  in  Cromwell's  terms.) 

The  masses  are  uniformly  conditioned  and  trained  for  discipline  in 
order  that  their  optimum  of  physical  and  psychic  power  in  attack  may 
be  rationally  calculated.  Enthusiasm  and  unreserved  devotion  may,  of 
course,  have  a  place  in  discipline;  every  modern  conduct  of  war  weighs, 
frequently  above  everything  else,  precisely  the  'moral'  elements  of  a 
troop's  endurance.  Military  leadership  uses  emotional  means  of  all  sorts 
— just  as  the  most  sophisticated  techniques  of  religious  discipline,  the 
exercitia  spiritualia  of  Ignatius  Loyola,  do  in  their  way.  In  combat,  mili- 
tary leadership  seeks  to  influence  followers  through  'inspiration'  and, 
even  more,  to  train  them  in  'emphatic  understanding'  of  the  leader's  will. 
The  sociologically  decisive  points,  however,  are,  first,  that  everything,  and 
especially  these  'imponderable'  and  irrational  emotional  factors,  are  ration- 
ally calculated — in  principle,  at  least,  in  the  same  manner  as  one  calculates 
the  yields  of  coal  and  iron  deposits.  Secondly,  devotion,  in  its  purpose- 
fulness  and  according  to  its  normal  content,  is  of  an  objective  character.  It 
is  devotion  to  a  common  'cause,'  to  a  rationally  intended  'success';  it  does 
not  mean  devotion  to  a  person  as  such — however  'personally'  tinged  it 
may  be  in  the  concrete  instance  of  a  fascinating  leader. 


The  case  is  diflferent  only  when  the  prerogatives  of  a  slaveholder  create 
a  situation  of  discipline— on  a  plantation  or  in  a  slave  army  of  the  ancient 
Orient,  on  galleys  manned  by  slaves  or  among  prisoners  in  Antiquity  and 
the  Middle  Ages.  Indeed,  the  individual  cannot  escape  from  such  a 
mechanized  organization,  for  routinized  training  puts  him  in  his  place 
and  compels  him  to  'travel  along.'  Those  w^ho  are  enlisted  in  the  ranks 
are  forcibly  integrated  into  the  whole.  This  integration  is  a  strong  ele- 
ment in  the  efficacy  of  all  discipline,  and  especially  in  every  war  con- 
ducted in  a  disciplined  fashion.  It  is  the  only  efficacious  element  and— as 
caput  mortuum — it  always  remains  after  the  'ethical'  qualities  of  duty 
and  conscientiousness  have  failed. 

I :  The  Origins  of  Discipline  in  War 

The  conflict  between  discipline  and  individual  charisma  has  been  full 
of  vicissitudes.  It  has  its  classic  seat  in  the  development  of  the  structure 
of  warfare,  in  which  sphere  the  conflict  is,  of  course,  to  some  extent  deter- 
mined by  the  technique  of  warfare.  The  kind  of  weapons — pike,  sword, 
bow — are  not  necessarily  decisive;  for  all  of  them  allow  disciplined  as  well 
as  individual  combat.  At  the  beginning  of  the  known  history  of  the  Near 
East  and  of  the  Occident,  however,  the  importation  of  the  horse  and  prob- 
ably, to  some  uncertain  degree,  the  beginning  of  the  predominance  of 
iron  for  tools  have  played  parts  which  have  been  epoch-making  in  every 

The  horse  brought  the  war  chariot  and  with  it  the  hero  driving  into 
combat  and  possibly  fighting  from  his  chariot.  The  hero  has  been  dom- 
inant in  the  warfare  of  the  Oriental,  Indian,  and  ancient  Chinese  kings, 
as  well  as  throughout  Occidental  societies,  including  the  Celtic,  In  Ireland 
'hero  combat'  prevailed  until  late  times.  Horseback  riding  came  after  the 
war  chariot,  but  persisted  longer.  From  such  horseback  riding  the  'knight' 
emerged — the  Persian,  as  well  as  the  Thessalian,  Athenian,  Roman,  Celtic, 
and  Germanic.  The  footman,  who  certainly  played  some  part  earlier  in 
the  development  of  discipline,  receded  in  importance  for  quite  some  time. 

The  substitution  of  iron  side-arms  for  bronze  javelins  was  probably 
among  the  factors  that  again  pushed  development  in  the  opposite  direc- 
tion, toward  discipline.  Yet,  just  as  in  the  Middle  Ages  gun  powder  can 
scarcely  be  said  to  have  brought  about  the  transition  from  undisciplined 
to  disciplined  fighting,  so  iron,  as  such,  did  not  bring  about  the  change — 
for  long-range  and  knightly  weapons  were  made  of  iron. 

256        ^  POWER 

'It  was  the  discipline  of  the  Hellenic  and  Roman  Hoplites^  which 
brought  about  the  change.  Even  Homer,  as  an  oft-quoted  passage  indi- 
cates, knew  of  the  beginnings  of  discipline  with  its  prohibition  of  fighting 
out  of  line.  For  Rome,  the  important  turning-point  is  symbolized  by  the 
legend  of  the  execution  of  the  consul's  son,  who,  in  accordance  with  the 
ancient  fashion  of  heroes,  had  slain  the  opposing  war  lord  in  individual 
combat.  At  first,  the  well-trained  army  of  the  Spartan  professional  soldier, 
the  holy  Lochos "  of  the  Boeotians,  the  well-trained  jam^a-equipped  ^ 
phalanx  of  the  Macedonians,  and  then  the  tactic  of  the  highly  trained, 
more  mobile  maniple  *  of  the  Romans,  gained  supremacy  over  the  Persian 
knight,  the  militias  of  the  Hellenic  and  Italic  citizenry,  and  the  people's 
armies  of  the  Barbarians.  In  the  early  period  of  the  Hellenic  Hophtes, 
incipient  attempts  were  made  to  exclude  long  range  ^veapons  by  'inter- 
national law'  as  unchivalrous,  just  as  during  the  Middle  Ages  there  were 
attempts  to  forbid  the  cross-bow. 

The  kind  of  weapon  has  been  the  result  and  not  the  cause  of  discipline. 
Exclusive  use  of  the  infantry  tactic  of  close  combat  during  antiquity 
brought  about  the  decay  of  cavalry,  and  in  Rome  the  'census  of  knights' 
became  practically  equivalent  to  exemption  from  military  service. 

At  the  close  of  the  Middle  Ages  it  was  the  massed  force  of  the  Swiss, 
with  its  parallel  and  ensuing  developments,  which  first  broke  the  monop- 
oly of  knighthood  to  wage  war.  And  even  then,  the  Swiss  still  allowed 
the  Halberdiers  ^  to  break  forth  from  the  main  force  for  hero  combat, 
after  the  main  force  had  advanced  in  closed  formation — the  pike-men 
occupying  the  outside  positions.  At  first  these  massed  forces  of  the  Swiss 
only  succeeded  in  dispersing  the  knights.  And  in  the  battles  of  the  six- 
teenth and  seventeenth  centuries,  cavalry,  as  such,  increasingly  disci- 
plined, still  played  a  completely  decisive  role.  Without  cavalry  it  was  still 
impossible  to  wage  offensive  wars  and  actually  to  overpower  the  enemy, 
as  the  course  of  the  English  Civil  War  demonstrated. 

It  was  discipline  and  not  gun  powder  which  initiated  the  transforma- 
tion. The  Dutch  army  under  Maurice  of  the  House  of  Orange  was  one 
of  the  first  modern  disciplined  armies.  It  was  shorn  of  all  status  privi- 
leges; and  thus,  for  example,  the  previously  effective  refusal  of  the  mer- 
cenaries to  do  rampart  work  {opera  servitid)  became  ineffective.  Crom- 
well's victories — despite  the  fierce  bravery  of  the  Cavaliers — were  due  to 
sober  and  rational  Puritan  discipline.  His  'Ironsides' — the  'men  of  con- 
science'— trotted  forward  in  firmly  closed  formation,  at  the  same  time 
calmly  firing,  and  then,  thrusting,  brought  about  a  successful  attack.  The 


major  contrast  lies  in  the  fact  that  after  the  attack  they  remained  in 
closed  formation  or  immediately  re-aligned  themselves.  It  was  this  dis- 
ciplined cavalry  attack  which  was  technically  superior  to  the  Cavaliers' 
ardor.  For  it  was  the  habit  of  the  Cavaliers  to  gallop  enthusiastically  into 
the  attack  and  then,  without  discipline,  to  disperse,  either  to  plunder  the 
camp  of  the  enemy  or  prematurely  and  individually  to  pursue  single 
opponents  in  order  to  capture  them  for  ransom.  All  successes  were  for- 
feited by  such  habits,  as  was  typically  and  often  the  case  in  Antiquity 
and  the  Middle  Ages  (for  example,  at  TagUacozzo).  Gun  powder  and 
all  the  war  techniques  associated  with  it  became  significant  only  with  the 
existence  of  discipline — and  to  the  full  extent  only  with  the  use  of  war 
machinery,  which  presupposes  discipline. 

The  economic  bases  upon  which  army  organizations  have  been 
founded  are  not  the  only  agent  determining  the  development  of  discipline, 
yet  they  have  been  of  considerable  importance.  -The  discipline  of  well- 
trained  armies  and  the  major  or  minor  role  they  have  played  in  warfare 
reacted  still  more,  and  with  more  lasting  effects,  upon  the  political  and 
social  order.  This  influence,  however,  has  been  ambiguous.  Discipline,  as 
the  basis  of  warfare,  gave  birth  to  pariarchal  kingship  among  the  Zulus, 
where  the  monarch  is  constitutionally  limited  by  the  power  of  the  army 
leaders  (like  the  Spartan  Ephors)  .^  Similarly,  discipline  gave  birth  to  the 
Hellenic  polls  with  its  gymnasiums. 

When  infantry  drill  is  perfected  to  the  point  of  virtuosity  (Sparta),  , 
the  polls  has  an  inevitably  'aristocratic'  structure.  When  cities  are  based 
upon  naval  discipHne,  they  have  'democratic'  structures  (Athens),  Dis- 
cipline gave  rise  to  Swiss  'democracy,'  which  is  quite  different  in  nature. 
It  involved  a  dominance   (in  Hellenic  terms)   over  metics  as  well  as   . 
territorial  helots,  during  the  time  when  Swiss  mercenaries  enlisted  in   \ 
foreign  armies.  The  rule  of  the  Roman  particiate,  of  the  Egyptian, 
Assyrian,  and  finally  of  the  modern  European  bureaucratic  state  organi- 
zations— all  have  their  origin  in  discipline. 

War  disciphne  may  go  hand  in  hand  with  totally  different  economic 
conditions,  as  these  examples  show.  However,  discipline  has  always 
affected  the  structure  of  the  state,  the  economy,  and  possibly  the  family. 
For  in  the  past  a  fully  disciplined  army  has  necessarily  been  a  professional 
army,  and  therefore  the  basic  problem  has  always  been  how  to  provide 
for  the  sustenance  of  the  warriors. 

The  primeval  way  of  creating  trained  troops — ever  ready  to  strike,  and 
allowing  themselves  to  be  disciplined — was  warrior  communism ,  which 

258  POWER 

we  have  already  mentioned.  It  may  take  the  form  of  the  bachelor  house 
as  a  kind  of  barracks  or  casino  of  the  professional  warriors;  in  this  form 
it  is  spread  over  the  largest  part  of  the  earth.  Or,  it  may  follow  the  pat- 
tern of  the  communist  community  of  the  Ligurian  pirates,  or  of  the 
Spartan  syssitia  organized  according  to  the  'picnic'  principle;  or  it  may 
follow  Caliph  Omar's  organization,  or  the  religious  knight  orders  of  the 
Middle  Ages.  The  warrior  community  may  constitute,  as  we  have  noticed 
above,  either  a  completely  autonomous  society  closed  against  the  outside, 
or,  as  is  the  rule,  it  may  be  incorporated  into  a  political  association  whose 
territory  is  fixed  by  boundaries.  As  a  part  of  such  a  corporate  group,  the 
warrior  community  may  decisively  determine  its  order.  Thus,  the  re- 
cruitment of  the  warrior  community  is  linked  to  the  order  of  the  cor- 
porate group.  But  this  linkage  is  largely  relative.  Even  the  Spartans,  for 
example,  did  not  insist  upon  a  strict  'purity  of  blood.'  Military  education 
was  decisive  for  membership  in  its  warrior  community. 

Under  warrior  communism,  the  existence  of  the  warrior  is  the  perfect 
counterpart  to  the  existence  of  the  monk, ;  whose  garrisoned  and  com- 
munist life  in  the  monastery  also  serves  the  purpose  of  disciplining  him 
in  the  service  of  his  master  in  the  hereafter  (and  possibly  also  resulting 
in  service  to  a  this-worldly  master).  The  dissociation  from  the  family 
and  from  all  private  economic  interests  also  occurs  outside  the  celibate 
knight  orders,  which  were  created  in  direct  analogy  to  the  monk  orders. 

When  the  institution  of  the  bachelor  house  is  fully  developed,  familial 
relations  are  often  completely  excluded.  The  inmates  of  the  house  pur- 
chase or  capture  girls,  or  they  claim  that  the  girls  of  the  subject  com- 
munity be  at  their  disposal  so  long  as  they  have  not  been  sold  in  mar- 
riage. The  children  of  the  Ariloi — the  ruling  estate  in  Melanesia — ^are 
killed.  Men  can  join  enduring  sexual  communities  with  a  separate 
economy  only  after  having  completed  their  'service'  in  the  bachelor 
house — often  only  at  an  advanced  age.  Stratification  according  to  age 
groups,  which  with  some  peoples  is  also  important  for  the  regulation  of 
sexual  relationship;  the  alleged  survivals  from  primitive  'endogenous 
sexual  promiscuity';  the  alleged  survivals  of  a  supposedly  'primeval  right' 
of  all  comrades  to  all  girls  not  yet  appropriated  by  an  individual;  as  well 
as  'marriage  by  capture' — allegedly  the  earliest  form  of  marriage;  and, 
above  all,  the  'matriarchate' — all  of  these  might  be  in  most  cases  survivals 
of  such  military  organizations  as  we  are  discussing.  These  military  organ- 
izations split  the  life  of  the  warrior  from  the  household  and  family,  and. 


under  conditions  of  chronic  warfare,  such  organizations  have  been  widely 

Almost  everywhere  the  communistic  warrior  community  may  be  the 
caput  mortuum  of  the  followers  of  charismatic  war  lords.  Such  a  follow- 
ing has  usually  been  societahzed  into  a  chronic  institution  and,  once 
existing  in  peacetime,  has  led  to  the  decline  of  warrior  chieftainship. 
Yet  under  favorable  conditions,  the  warrior  chief  may  well  rise  to  abso- 
lute lordship  over  the  disciplined  warrior  formations.  Accordingly,  the 
oi}{os,  as  the  basis  of  a  military  structure,  offers  an  extreme  contrast  to 
this  communism  of  warriors  who  live  on  accumulated  stores,  as  well  as 
contributions  of  the  women,  of  those  unfit  to  bear  arms,  and  possibly  of 
serfs.  The  patrimonial  army  is  sustained  and  equipped  from  the  stores 
of  a  commanding  overlord.  It  was  known  especially  in  Egypt,  but  its 
fragments  are  widely  dispersed  in  military  organizations  of  different 
natures,  and  they  form  the  bases  of  princely  despotisms. 

The  reverse  phenomenon,  the  emancipation  of  the  warrior  community 
from  the  unlimited  power  of  the  overlord,  as  evidenced  in  Sparta  through 
the  institution  of  the  Ephors,  has  proceeded  only  so  far  as  the  interest 
in  discipline  has  permitted.  In  the  polis,  therefore,  the  weakening  of  the 
king's  power — which  meant  the  weakening  of  discipline — prevailed  only 
in  peace  and  in  the  homeland  {domi  in  contrast  to  militiae,  according 
to  the  technical  terms  of  Roman  administrative  law) .  The  Spartan  king's 
prerogatives  approached  the  zero  point  only  in  peacetime.  In  the  interests 
of  discipline,  the  king  was  omnipotent  in  the  field. 

An  all-around  weakening  of  discipline  usually  accompanies  any  kind 
of  decentralized  military  establishment — whether  it  is  of  prebendal  or  of 
feudal  type.  This  weakening  of  discipline  may  vary  greatly  in  degree. 
The  well-trained  Spartan  army,  the  S'/drJQOi  ^  of  the  other  Hellenic  and 
Macedonian  and  of  several  Oriental  military  establishments,  the  Turkish 
quasi-prebendal  fiefs,  and  finally  the  feudal  fiefs  of  the  Japanese  and 
Occidental  Middle  Ages — all  of  these  were  phases  of  economic  decen- 
tralization, usually  going  hand  in  hand  with  the  weakening  of  discipline 
and  the  rising  importance  of  individual  heroism. 

From  the  disciplinary  aspect,  just  as  from  the  economic,  the  feudal 
lord  and  vassal  represents  an  extreme  contrast  to  the  patrimonial  or  j 
bureaucratic  soldier.  And  the  disciplinary  aspect  is  a  consequence  of  the  ; 
economic  aspect.  The  feudal  vassal  and  lord  not  only  cares  for  his  own 
equipment  and  provisions,  directs  his  own  baggage-train,  but  he  sum- 
mons and  leads  sub-vassals  who,  in  turn,  also  equip  themselves. 

26o  POWER 

Discipline  has  grown  on  the  basis  of  an  increased  concentration  of  the 
means  of  warfare  in  the  hands  of  the  war  lord.  This  has  been  achieved 
by  having  a  condottiere  recruit  mercenary  armies,  in  part  or  wholly,  in 
the  manner  of  a  private  capitalist.  Such  an  arrangement  was  dominant 
in  the  late  Middle  Ages  and  the  beginning  of  the  modern  era.  It  was 
followed  by  the  raising  and  equipping  of  standing  armies  by  means  of 
political  authority  and  a  collective  economy.  We  shall  not  describe  here 
in  detail  the  increasing  rationalization  of  procurement  for  the  armies.  It 
began  with  Maurice  of  the  House  of  Orange,  proceeded  to  Wallenstein, 
Gustav  Adolf,  Cromwell,  the  armies  of  the  French,  of  Frederick  the 
Great,  and  of  Maria  Theresa;  it  passed  through  a  transition  from  the 
professional  army  to  the  people's  army  of  the  French  Revolution,  and 
from  the  disciplining  of  the  people's  army  by  Napoleon  into  a  partly  pro- 
fessional army.  Finally  universal  conscription  was  introduced  during 
the  nineteenth  century.  The  whole  development  meant,  in  effect,  the 
clearly  increasing  importance  of  discipline  and,  just  as  clearly,  the  con- 
sistent execution  of  the  economic  process  through  which  a  public  and 
collective  economy  was  substituted  for  private  capitalism  as  the  basis  for 
military  organization. 

Whether  the  exclusive  dominance  of  universal  conscription  will  be 
the  last  word  in  the  age  of  machine  warfare  remains  to  be  seen.  The 
shooting  records  of  the  British  navy,  for  instance,  seem  to  be  affected  by 
ensembling  gun  crews  of  professional  soldiers,  which  allows  for  their 
continuation  as  a  team  through  the  years.  The  belief  in  the  technical 
superiority  of  the  professional  soldier  for  certain  categories  of  troops  is 
almost  sure  to  gain  in  influence,  especially  if  the  process  of  shortening 
the  term  of  service — stagnating  in  Europe  at  the  moment — should  con- 
tinue. In  several  officers'  circles,  this  view  is  already  esoterically  held. 
The  introduction  of  a  three-year  period  of  compulsory  service  by  the 
French  army  (1913)  was  motivated  here  and  there  by  the  slogan  of 
'professional  army' — a  somewhat  inappropriate  slogan,  since  all  diflferen- 
tiation  of  the  troops  into  categories  was  absent.  These  still  ambiguous 
possibilities,  and  also  their  possible  political  consequences,  are  not  to  be 
discussed  here.  In  any  case,  none  of  them  will  alter  the  exclusive  im- 

r'portance  of  mass  discipline.  What  has  concerned  us  here  has  been  ^  to 
show  that  the  separation  of  the  \yarrior  from  the  means  of  warf are,^  ^and 
the  concentration  of  the  means  of  warfare  in  the  hands  of  the  war  lord 


have  everywhere  been  one  of  the  typical  bases  of  mass  discipline.  And 
I    this  has  been  the  case  whether  the  process  of  separation  and  of  concen- 


tration  was  executed  in  the  form  of  oikos,  capitalist  enterprise,  or  bureau- 
cratic organizatiorn "^    '         --— ■"""*"    "~ 

2:  The  Discipline  of  Large-Scale  Economic  Organizations 

The  discipline  of  the  army  gives  birth  to  all  discipline.  The  large-scale 
economic  organization  is  the  second  great  agency  which  trains  men  for 
discipline.  No  direct  historical  and  transitional  organizations  link  the 
Pharaonic  workshops  and  construction  work  (however  httle  detail  about 
their  organization  is  known)  with  the  Carthaginian  Roman  plantation, 
the  mines  of  the  late  Middle  Ages,  the  slave  plantation  of  colonial 
economies,  and  finally  the  modern  factory.  However,  all  of  these  have 
in  common  the  one  element  of  discipline. 

The  slaves  of  the  ancient  plantations  slept  in  barracks,  living  without 
family  and  without  property.  Only  the  managers — especially  the  villicus — 
had  individual  domiciles,  somewhat  comparable  to  the  lieutenant's  domi- 
cile or  the  residence  of  a  manager  of  a  modern,  large-scale  agricultural 
enterprise.  The  villicus  alone  usually  had  quasi-property  {peculium,  i.e. 
originally  property  in  cattle)  and  quasi-marriage  {contiibernium) .  In 
the  morning  the  work-slaves  lined  up  in  'squads'  (in  decuriae)  and  were 
led  to  work  by  overseers  (moniiores) ;  their  personal  equipment  (to  use 
a  barrack  term)  was  stored  away  and  handed  out  according  to  need. 
And  hospitals  and  prison  cells  were  not  absent.  The  discipline  of  the 
manor  of  the  Middle  Ages  and  the  modern  era  was  considerably  less 
strict  because  it  was  traditionally  stereotyped,  and  therefore  it  somewhat 
limited  the  lord's  power. 

No  special  proof  is  necessary  to  show  that  military  discipline  is  the 
ideal  model  for  the  modern  capitalist  factory,  as  it  was  for  the  ancient 
plantation.  In  contrast  to  the  plantation,  organizational  discipline  in  the 
factory  is  founded  upon  a  completely  rational  basis.  With  the  help  of 
appropriate  methods  of  measurement,  the  optimum  profitability  of  the 
individual  worker  is  calculated  like  that  of  any  material  means  of  pro- 
duction. On  the  basis  of  this  calculation,  the  American  system  of  'scien- 
tific management'  enjoys  the  greatest  triumphs  in  the  rational  condition- 
ing and  training  of  work  performances.  The  final  consequences  are 
drawn  from  the  mechanization  and  discipline  of  the  plant,  and  the 
psycho-physical  apparatus  of  man  is  completely  adjusted  to  the  demands 
of  the  outer  world,  the  tools,  the  machines — in  short,  to  an  individual 
'function.'  The  individual  is  shorn  of  his  natural  rhythm  as  determined 

262  POWER 

by  the  structure  of  his  organism;  his  psycho-physical  apparatus  is  atuned 
to  a  new  rhythm  through  a  methodical  specialization  o£  separately  func- 
tioning muscles,  and  an  optimal  economy  of  forces  is  established  cor- 
responding to  the  conditions  of  work.  This  whole  process  of  rationaliza- 
i  tion,  in  the  factory  as  elsewhere,  and  especially  in  the  bureaucratic  state 
I    machine,   parallels   the   centralization    of   the   material   implements    of 

organization  in  the  discretionary  power  of  the  overlord. 
!         The  ever-widening  grasp  of  discipline  irresistibly  proceeds  with  the 
'     rationalization  of  the  supply  of  economic  and  political  demands.  This 
universal  phenomenon  increasingly  restricts  the  importance  of  charisma 
l     and  of  individually  differentiated  conduct. 

3:  Discipline  and  Charisma 

Charisma,  as  a  creative  power,  recedes  in  the  face  of  domination, 
I  which  hardens  into  lasting  institutions,  and  becomes  efficacious  only  in 
J  short-lived  mass  emotions  of  incalculable  effects,  as  on  elections  and 
j  similar  occasions.  Nevertheless  charisma  remains  a  highly  important 
■  element  of  the  social  structure,  although  of  course  in  a  greatly  changed 

We  must  now  return  to  the  economic  factors,  already  mentioned 
above,  which  predominantly  determine  the  routinization  of  charisma: 
'•  the  need  of  social  strata,  privileged  through  existing  political,  social,  and 
\/  economic  orders,  to  have  their  social  and  economic  positions  'legitimized.' 
They  wish  to  see  their  positions  transformed  from  purelyfactual  power 
relations  into  a  cosmos  of  acquired  rights,  and  to  know  that  they  are 
thus  sanctified.  These  interests  comprise  by  far  the  strongest  motive  for 
the  conservation  of  charismatic  elements  of  an  objectified  nature  within 
the  structure  of  domination.  Genuine  charisma  is  absolutely  opposed  to 
this  objectified  fornjc^lt  does  not  appeal  to  an  enacted  or  traditional  order, 
nor  does  it  base  its  claims  upon  acquired  rights.  Genuine  charisma  rests 
upon  the  legitimation  of  personal  heroism  or  personal  revelation.  Yet 
precisely  this  quality  of  charisma  as  an  extraordinary,  supernatural,  divine 
power  transforms  it,  after  its  routinization,  into  a  suitable  source  for  the 
legitimate  acquisition  of  sovereign  power  by  the  successors  of  the  charis- 
matic hero.  Routinized  charisma  thus  continues  to  work  in  favor  of  all 
those  whose  power  and  possession  is  guaranteed  by  that  sovereign  power, 
and  who  thus  depend  upon  the  continued  existence  of  such  power. 
The  forms  in   which  a  ruler's  charismatic   legitimation   may  express 


itself  vary  according  to  the  relation  of  the  original  charismatic  power- 
holder  with  the  supernatural  powers.  If  the  ruler's  legitimation  cannot 
be  determined,  according  to  unambiguous  rules,  through  hereditary 
charisma,  he  is  in  need  of  legitimation  through  some  other  charismatic 
power.  Normally,  this  can  only  be  hierocratic  power.  This  holds  expressly 
for  the  sovereign  who  represents  a  divine  incarnation,  and  who  thus 
possesses  the  highest  'personal  charisma.'  Unless  it  is  supported  and 
proved  by  personal  deeds,  his  claim  of  charisma  requires  the  acknowl- 
edgment of  professional  experts  in  divinity.  Incarnated  monarchs  are 
indeed  exposed  to-the  peculiar  process  of  interment  by  close  court  officials 
and  priests,  who  are  materially  and  ideally  interested  in  legitimacy.  This 
seclusion  may  proceed  to  a  permanent  palace  arrest  and  even  to  killing 
upon  maturity,  lest  the  god  have  occasion  to  compromise  divinity  or  to 
free  himself  from  tutelage*  Yet  generally,  according  to  the  genuine  view 
as  well  as  in  practice,  the  weight  of  responsibility  which  the  charismatic 
ruler  must  carry  before  his  subjects  works  very  definitely  in  the  direction 
of  the  need  for  his  tutelage. 

It  is  because  of  their  high  charismatic  qualifications  that  such  rulers 
as  the  Oriental  Caliph,  Sultan,  and  Shah  urgently  need,  even  nowadays 
(1913),  a  single  personality  to  assume  responsibility  for  governmental 
actions,  especially  for  failures  and  unpopular  actions.  This  is  the  basis 
for  the  traditional  and  specific  position  of  the  'Grand  Vizier'  in  all  those 
realms.  The  attempt  to  abolish  and  replace  the  office  of  the  Grand  Vizier 
by  bureaucratic  departments  under  ministers  with  the  Shah's  personal 
chairmanship  failed  in  Persia  during  the  last  generation.  This  change 
would  have  placed  the  Shah  in  the  role  of  a  leader  of  the  administration, 
personally  responsible  for  all  its  abuses  and  for  all  the  sufferings  of  the 
people.  This  role  not  only  would  have  continuously  jeopardized  him, 
but  would  have  shaken  the  belief  in  his  very  'charismatic'  legitimacy. 
The  office  of  Grand  Vizier  with  its  responsibilities  had  to  be  restored  in 
order  to  protect  the  Shah  and  his  charisma. 

The  Grand  Vizier  is  the  Oriental  counterpart  of  the  position  of  the 
responsible  prime  minister  of  the  Occident,  especially  in  parliamentary 
states.  The  formula,  le  roi  regne  mats  il  ne  gouverne  pas,  and  the  theory 
that,  in  the  interest  of  the  dignity  of  his  position,  the  king  must  not 
'figure  without  ministerial  decorations,'  or,  that  he  must  abstain  entirely 
from  intervening  in  the  normal  administration  directed  by  bureaucratic 
experts  and  specialists,  or  that  he  must  abstain  from  administration  in 
favor  of  the  political  party  leaders  occupying  ministerial  positions — all 

264  POWER 

these  theories  correspond  entirely  to  the  enshrinement  of  the  deified, 
patrimonial  sovereign  by  the  experts  in  tradition  and  ceremony:  priests, 
court  officers,  and  high  dignitaries.  In  all  these  cases  the  sociological  nature 
of  charisma  plays  just  as  great  a  part  as  that  of  court  officials  or  party 
leaders  and  their  foUowings.  Despite  his  lack  of  parliamentary  power, 
the  constitutional  monarch  is  preserved,  and  above  all,  his  mere  existence 
and  his  charisma  guarantee  the  legitimacy  of  the  existing  social  and 
property  order,  since  decisions  are  carried  out  'in  his  name.'  Besides,  all 
those  interested  in  the  social  order  must  fear  for  the  belief  in  'legality' 
lest  it  be  shaken  by  doubts  of  its  legitimacy. 

A  president  elected  according  to  fixed  rules  can  formally  legitimize 
the  governmental  actions  of  the  respective  victorious  party  as  'lawful,' 
just  as  well  as  a  parliamentary  monarch.  But  the  monarch,  in  addition 
to  such  legitimation,  can  perform  a  function  which  an  elected  president 
can  not  fulfil:  a  parliamentary  monarch  formally  delimits  the  politicians' 
quest  for  power,  because  the  highest  position  in  the  state  is  occupied 
once  and  for  all.  From  a  political  point  of  view  this  essentially  negative 
function,  associated  with  the  mere  existence  of  a  king  enthroned  accord- 
ing to  fixed  rules,  is  of  the  greatest  practical  importance.  Formulated 
positively  it  means,  for  the  archetype  of  the  species,  that  the  king  cannot 
gain  an  actual  share  in  political  power  by  prerogative  (kingdom  of  pre- 
rogative). He  can  share  power  only  by  virtue  of  outstanding  personal 
ability  or  social  influence  (kingdom  of  influence).  Yet  he  is  in  position  to 
exert  this  influence  in  spite  of  all  parliamentary  government,  as  events 
and  personaHties  of  recent  times  have  shown. 

'Parliamentary'  kingship  in  England  means  a  selective  admission  to 
actual  power  for  that  monarch  who  qualifies  as  a  statesman.  But  a  mis- 
step at  home  or  in  foreign  affairs,  or  the  raising  of  pretensions  that  do 
not  correspond  with  his  personal  abilities  and  prestige,  may  cost  him 
his  crown.  Thus  English  parliamentary  kingship  is  formed  in  a  more 
genuinely  charismatic  fashion  than  kingships  on  the  Continent.  On  the 
Continent,  mere  birth-right  equally  endows  the  fool  and  the  political 
genius  with  the  pretensions  of  a  sovereign. 

Part  III 


X.i.    Ine  oocial  xsycnology  ol  tne    VVorlo 

By  'world  religions,'  we  understand  the  five  religions  or  religiously  deter- 
mined systems  of  life-regulation  which  have  known  how  to  gather 
multitudes  of  confessors  around  them.  The  term  is  used  here  in  a  com- 
pletely value-neutral  sense.  The  Confucian,  Hinduist,  Buddhist,  Chris- 
tian, and  Islamist  religious  ethics  all  belong  to  the  category  of  world 
religion.  A  sixth  religion,  Judaism,  will  also  be  dealt  with.  It  is  included 
because  it  contains  historical  preconditions  decisive  for  understanding 
Christianity  and  Islamism,  and  because  of  its  historic  and  autonomous 
significance  for  the  development  of  the  modern  economic  ethic  of  the 
Occident — a  significance,  partly  real  and  partly  alleged,  which  has  been 
discussed  several  times  recently.  References  to  other  religions  will  be 
made  only  when  they  are  indispensable  for  historical  connections.^ 

What  is  meant  by  the  'economic  ethic'  of  a  religion  will  become  in- 
creasingly clear  during  the  course  of  our  presentation.  This  term  does 
not  bring  into  focus  the  ethical  theories  of  theological  compendia;  for 
however  important  such  compendia  may  be  under  certain  circumstances, 
they  merely  serve  as  tools  of  knowledge.  The  term  'economic  ethic' 
points  tojhe  practical  impulses  for  action  which  are  founded  in  the 
nsycho^ical  and  pragmatic  contexts  of  religions.  The  following  presen- 
tation may  be  sketchy,  but  it  will  make  obvious  how  complicated  the 
structures  and  how  many-sided  the  conditions  of  a  concrete  economic 
ethic  usually  are.  Furthermore,  it  will  show  that  externally  similar  forms 
of  economic  organization  may  agree  with  very  different  economic  ethics 

'Die  Wirtschaftsethik  der  Weltreligionen,'  Gesammelte  Attjsaetze  zur  Religionssoziologie 
(Tubingen,  1922-3),  vol.  i,  pp.  237-68.  This  is  a  translation  o£  the  Introduction  to  a 
series  of  studies  which  Weber  published  as  articles  in  the  Archiv  ftir  Sozialforschting  under 
the  title  'Die  Wirtschaftsethik  der  Weltreligionen'  (The  Economic  Ethic  of  the  World 
Religions).  The  Introduction  and  the  first  parts  on  Confucianism  and  Taoism  were  written 
in  1 91 3.  They  were  not  published  until  September  1915,  in  the  41st  volume  of  the 



and,  according  to  the  unique  character  of  their  economic  ethics,  how 
such  forms  of  economic  organization  may  produce  very  different  his- 
torical results.  An  economic  ethic  is  not  a  simple  'function'  of  a  form 
of  economic  organization;  and  just  as  little  does  the  reverse  hold,  namely, 
that  economic  ethics  unambiguously  stamp  the  form  of  the  economic 
/,    organization. 

w/  Nq  economic  ethic  has  ever  been  determined  solely  by  religion.  In  the 
)^  face  of  man's  attitudes  to  wards  the~w6rld — as  determined  by  religious  or 
»p  other  (in  our  sense)  'inner'  factors — an  economic  ethic  has,  of  course,  a 
high  measure  of  autonomy.  Given  factors  of  economic  geography  and 
histor,y_determine  this  measure  of  autonomy~in  the  highest  degree.  The 
V'eligious  determination  of  life-conduct,  however,  is  also  one — note  this — 
only  one,  of  the  determinants  of  the  economic  ethic^Of  course,  the  reli- 
giously determined  way  of  life  is  itself  profoundly  influenced  by  economic 
and  political  factors  operating  within  given  geographical,  political,  social, 
and  national  boundaries.  We  should  lose  ourselves  in  these  discussions 
if  we  tried  to  demonstrate  these  dependencies  in  all  their  singularities. 
Here  we  can  only  attempt  to  peel  oflF  the  directive  elements  in  the  life- 
conduct  of  those  social  strata  which  have  most  strongly  influenced  the 
practical  ethic  of  their  respective  religions.  These  elements  have  stamped 
the  most  characteristic  features  upon  practical  ethics,  the  features  that 
distinguish  one  ethic  from  others;  and,  at  the  same  time,  they  have  been 
important  for  the  respective  economic  ethics. 

By  no  means  must  we  focus  upon  only  one  stratum.  Those  strata  which 
are  decisive  in  stamping  the  characteristic  features  of  an  economic  ethic 
may  change  in  the  course  of  history.  And  the  influence  of  a  single 
stratum  is  never  an  exclusive  one.  Nevertheless,  as  a  rule  one  may  deter- 
mine the  strata  whose  styles  of  life  have  been  at  least  predominantly 
decisive  for  certain  religions.  Here  are  some  examples,  if  one  may  antici- 

Confucianism  was  the  status  ethic  of  prebendaries,  of  men  with  literary 
educations  who  were  characterized  by  a  secular  rationalism.  If  one  did 
not  belong  to  this  cultured  stratum  he  did  not  count.  The  religious  (or 
if  one  wishes,  irreligious)  status  ethic  of  this  stratum  has  determined 
the  Chinese  way  of  life  far  beyond  the  stratum  itself. 

Earlier  Hinduism  was  borne  by  a  hereditary  caste  of  cultured  literati, 
who,  being  remote  from  any  office,  functioned  as  a  kind  of  ritualist  and 
spiritual  advisers  for  individuals  and  communities.  They  formed  a  stable 
center  for  the  orientation  of  the  status  stratification,  and  they  placed 


their  stamp  upon ihe_social  order.  Only  Brahmans,  educated  in  the  Veda, 
formed,  as  bearers  of  tradition,  the  fully  recognized  religious  status  group. 
An^  only  later  a  non-Brahman  status  group  of  ascetics  emerged  by  the 
side  of  the  Brahmans  and  competed  with  them.  Still  later,  during  the 
Indian  Middle  Ages,  Hinduism  entered  the  plain.  It  represented  the 
ardent "  sacramental  religiosity  of  the  savior,  and  was  borne  by  the  lower 
strata  with  their  plebeian  mystagogues. 

Buddhism  was  propagated  by  strictly  contemplative,  mendicant  monks, 
who]  rejected  the  world  and,  having  no  homes,  migrated.  Only  these 
were  full  members  of  the  religious  community;  all  others  remained 
religious  laymen  of  inferior  value:  objects,  not  subjects,  of  religiosity. 

During  its  first  period,  Islamism  was  a  religion  of  world-conquering 
warriors,  a  knight  order  of  disciplined  crusaders.  They  lacked  only  the 
sexual  asceticism  of  their  Christian  copies  of  the  age  of  the  Crusades. 
But  during  the  Islamic  Middle  Ages,  contemplative  and  mystical  Sufism  ^ 
attained  at  least  an  equal  standing  under  the  leadership  of  plebeian  tech- 
nicians of  orgiastics.  The  bfotherhoods  of  the  petty  bourgeoisie  grew  out 
of  Sufism  in  a  manner  similar  to  the  Christian  Tertiarians,  except  they 
were  far  more  universally  developed. 

Since  the  Exile,  Judaism  has  been  the  religion  of  a  civic  'pariah  people.' 
We  shall  in  time  become  acquainted  with  the  precise  meaning  of  the 
term.  During  the  Middle  Ages  Judaism  fell  under  the  leadership  of  a 
stratum  of  intellectuals  who  were  trained  in  literature  and  ritual,  a 
peculiarity  of  Judaism.  This  stratum  has  represented  an  increasingly 
quasi-proletarian  and  rationalist  petty-bourgeois  intelligentsia. 

Christianity,  finally,  began  its  course  as  a  doctrine  of  itinerant  artisan 
journeymen.  During  all  periods  of  its  mighty  external  and  internal  de- 
velopment it  has  been  a  quite  specifically  urban,  and  above  all  a  civic, 
j-digio-ci.  This  was  true  during  Antiquity,  during  the  Middle  Ages,  and 
in  Puritanism.  The  city  of  the  Occident,  unique  among  all  other  cities 
of- the  world — and  citizenship,  in  the  sense  in  which  it  has  emerged  only 
in  the  Occident — has  been  the  major  theatre  for  Christianity.  This  holds 
for  the  pneumatic  piety  of  the  ancient  religious  community,  for  the 
mendicant  monk  orders  of  the  high  Middle  Ages,  and  for  the  [Protest- 
ant] sects  of  the  reformation  up  to  pietism  and  methodism. 

It  is  not  our  thesis  that  the  specific  nature  of  a  religion  is  a  simple 
'function'  of  the  social  situation  of  the  stratum  which  appears  as  its 
characteristic  bearer,  or  that  it  represents  the  stratum's  'ideology,'  or  that 


it  is  a  'reflection'  of  a  stratum's  material  or  ideal  interest-situation.  On 
the  contrary,  a  more  basic  misunderstanding  of  the  standpoint  of  these 
discussions  would  hardly  be  possible. 

However  incisive  the  social  influences,  economically  and  politically 
,  determined,  may  have  been  upon  a  religious  ethic  in  a  particular  case, 
it  "deceives  its  stamp  primarily  from  religious  sources,  and,  first  of  all, 
from  the  content  of  its  annunciation  and  its  promise.  Frequently  the  very 
next  generation  reinterprets  these  annunciations  and  promises  in  a  funda- 
mental fashion.  Such  reinterpretations  adjust  the  revelations  to  the  needs 
of  the  religious  community.  If  this  occurs,  then  it  is  at  least  usual  that 
religious  doctrines  are  adjusted  to  religious  needs J^  Other  spheres  of  in- 
terest could  have  only  a  secondary  influence;  often,  however,  such  influ- 
ence is  very  obvious  and  sometimes  it  is  decisive. 

For  every  religion  we  shall  find  that  a  change  in  the  socially  decisive 
strata  Has  usually  been  of  profound  importance.  On  the  other  hand,  the 
type  of  a  religion,  once  stamped,  has  usually  exerted  a  rather  far-reaching 
influence  upon  the  life-conduct  of  very  heterogeneous  strata.  In  various 
ways  people  have  sought  to  interpret  the  connection  between  religious 
ethics  and  interest-situations  in  such  a  way  that  the  former  appear  as 
mere  'functions'  of  the  latter.  Such  interpretation  occurs  in  so-called  his- 
torical materialism — which  we  shall  not  here  discuss — as  well  as  in  a 
purely  psychological  sense. 

A  quite  general  and  abstract  class-determination  of  religious  ethics 
might  be  deduced  from  the  theory  of  'resentment,'  known  since  Friedrich 
Nietzsche's  brilliant  essay  and  since  then  spiritedly  treated  by  psycholo- 
gists. As  is  known,  this  theory  regards  the  moral  glorification  of  mercy 
and  brotherliness  as  a  'slave  revolt  in  morals'  among  those  who  are  dis- 
advantaged, either  in  their  natural  endowments  or  in  their  opportunities 
as  determined  by  life-fate.  The  ethic  of  'duty'  is  thus  considered  a  product 
of  'repressed'  sentiments  for  vengeance  on  the  part  of  banausic  men  who 
'displace'  their  sentiments  because  they  are  powerless,  and  condemned  to 
work  and  to  money-making.  They  resent  the  way  of  life  of  the  lordly 
stratum  who  live  free  of  duties.  A  very  simple  solution  of  the  most 
important  problems  in  the  typology  of  religious  ethics  would  obviously 
result  if  this  were  the  case.  However  fortunate  and  fruitful  the  dis- 
closure of  the  psychological  significance  of  resentment  as  such  has  been, 
great  caution  is  necessary  in  estimating  its  bearing  for  social  ethics. 

Later  we  shall  have  to  discuss  the  motives  that  have  determined  the 
different  forms  of  ethical  'rationalization'  of  life  conduct,  per  se.  In  the 


main,  these  have  had  HOthmg  Whatsoever  to  do  with  resentment.  But 
that  the  evaluation  »f  suffering  in  reHgious  ethics  has  been  subject  to  a 
typical  change  is  beyOTwijdQiibtrlf  properly  understood,  this  change  car- 
ries a  certain  justification  for  the  theory  first  worked  out  by  Nietzsche. 
The  primeval  attitude  towards  suffering  has  been  thrown  into  relief 
most  drastically  during  the  religious  festivities  of  the  community,  espe- 
cially in  the  treatment  of  those  haunted  by  disease  or  other  cases  of  ob- 
stinate misfortune.  Men,  permanently  suffering,  mourning,  diseased,  or 
otherwise  unfortunate,  were,  according  to  the  nature  of  their  suffering, 
believed  either  to  be  possessed  by  a  demon  or  burdened  with  the  wrath 
of  a  god  whom  they  had  insulted.  To  tolerate  such  men  in  the  midst  of 
the  cultic  community  could  result  in  disadvantages  for  it.  In  any  case, 
they  were  not  allowed  to  participate  in  cultic  feasts  and  sacrifices,  for  the 
gods  did  not  enjoy  the  sight  of  them  and  could  be  incited  to  wrath  by 
it.  The  sacrificial  feasts  were  occasions  for  rejoicing — even  in  Jerusalem 
during  times  of  siege. 

In  treating  suffering  as  a  symptom  of  odiousness  in  the  eyes  of  the 
gods  and  as  a  sign  of  secret  guilt,  religion  has  psychologically  met  a 
very_general  need..  The  fortunate  is  seldom  satisfied  with  the  fact  of  be- 
ing fortunate.  Beyond  this,  he  needs  to  know  that  he  has  a  right  to  his 
good  fortune.  He  wants  to  be  convinced  that  he  'deserves'  it,  and  above 
all,  that  he  deserves  it  in  comparison  with  others.  He  wishes  to  be  al- 
lowed the  belief  that  the  less  fortunate  also  merely  experience  his  due. 
Good  fortune  thus  wants  to  be  'legitimate'  fortune. 

If  the  general  term  'fortune'  covers  all  the  'good'  of  honor,  power, 
possession,  and  pleasure,  it  is  the  most  general  formula  for  the  service 
of  legitimation,  which  religion  has  had  to  accomplish  for  the  external 
and  the  inner  interests  of  all  ruling  men,  the  propertied,  the  victorious, 
and  the  healthy.  In  short,  religion  provides  the  theodicy  of  good  fortune 
for  those  who  are  fortunate.  This  theodicy  is  anchored  in  highly  robust 
Cpharisaical')  needs  of  man  and  is  therefore  easily  understood,  even  if 
sufficient  attention  is  often  not  paid  to  its  effects. 

In  contrast,  the  way  in  which  this  negative  evaluation  of  suffering  has 
led  to  its  religious  glorification  is  more  complicated.  Numerous  forms 
of  chastisement  and  of  abstinences  from  normal  diet  and  sleep,  as  well 
as  from  sexual  intercourse,  awaken,  or  at  least  facilitate,  the  charisma 
of  ecstatic,  visionary,  hysterical,  in  short,  of  all  extraordinary  states  that 
are  evaluated  as  'holy.'  Their  production  therefore  forms  the  object  of 
magical  asceticism.  The  prestige  of  these  chastisements  has  resulted  from 


the  notion  that  certain  kinds  of  suffering  and  abnormal  states  provoked 
'through  chastisement  are  avenues  to  the  attainment  of  superhuman, 
that  is  magical,  powers.  The  ancient  prescriptions  of  taboo  and  absti- 
nences in  the  interest  of  cultic  purity,  which  follow  from  a  beHef  in 
demons,  has  worked  in  the  same  direction.  The  development  of  cults  of 
'redemption'  has  been  added  to  these  prescriptions,  abstinences,  and  in- 
terests. In  principle,  these  cults  have  occupied  an  independent  and  new 
position  in  the  face  of  individual  suffering.  The  primeval  cult,  and  above 
all,  the  cult  of  the  political  associations,  have  left  all  individual  interests 
out  of  consideration.  The  tribal  and  local  god,  the  gods  of  the  city  and 
of  the  empire,  have  taken  care  only  of  interests  that  have  concerned  the 
collectivity  as  a  whole.  They  have  been  concerned  with  rain  and  with 
sunshine,  with  the  booty  of  the  hunt  and  with  victory  over  enemies. 
Thus,  in  the  community  cult,  the  collectivity  as  such  turned  to  its  god. 
The  individual,  in  order  to  avoid  or  remove  evils  that  concerned  him- 
self— above  all,  sickness — has  not  turned  to  the  cult  of  the  community, 
but  as  an  individual  he  has  approached  the  sorcerer  as  the  oldest  per- 
sonal and  'spiritual  adviser.'  The  prestige  of  particular  magicians,  and 
of  those  spirits  or  divinities  in  whose  names  they  have  performed  their 
miracles,  has  brought  them  patronage,  irrespective  of  local  or  of  tribal 
affiliation.  Under  favorable  conditions  this  has  led  to  the  formation  of  a 
religious  'community,'  which  has  been  independent  of  ethnic  associations. 
Some,  though  not  all,  'mysteries'  have  taken  this  course.  They  have 
promised  the  salvation  of  individuals  qua  individuals  from  sickness, 
poverty,  and  from  all  sorts  of  distress  and  danger.  Thus  the  magician 
has  transformed  himself  into  the  mystagogue;  that  is,  hereditary 
dynasties  of  mystagogues  or  organizations  of  trained  personnel  under  a 
head  determined  in  accordance  with  some  sort  of  rules  have  developed. 
This  head  has  either  been  recognized  as  the  incarnation  of  a  superhuman 
being  or  merely  as  a  prophet,  that  is,  as  the  mouthpiece  and  agent  of  his 
god.  Collective  religious  arrangements  for  individual  'suffering'  per  se, 
and  for  'salvation'  from  it,  have  originated  in  this  fashion. 

The  annunciation  and  the  promise  of  religion  have  naturally  been 
addressed  to  the  masses  of  those  who  were  in  need  of  salvation.  They__ 
and  their  interests  have  moved  into  the  center  of  the  professional  organi- 
zation for  the  'cure  of  the  soul,'  which,  indeed,  only  therewith  originated. 
The  typical  service  of  magicians  and  priests  becomes  the  determination 
of  the  factors  to  be  blamed  for  suffering,  that  is,  the  confession  of  'sins.' 
At  first,  these  sins  were  offenses   against  ritual  commandments.  The 


magician  and  priest  also  give  counsel  for  behavior  fit  to  remove  the 
suffering.  The  material  and  ideal  interests  of  magicians  and  priests  could 
thereby  actually  and  increasingly  enter  the  service  of  specifically  plebeian 
motives.  A  further  step  along  this  course  was  signified  when,  under  the 
pressure  of  typical  and  ever-recurrent  distress,  the  religiosity  of  a  're- 
deemer' evolved.  This  religiosity  presupposed  the  myth  of  a  savior,  hence 
(at  least  relatively)  of  a  rational  view  of  the  world.  Again,  suffering 
became  the  most  important  topic.  The  primitive  mythology  of  nature 
frequently  offered  a  point  of  departure  for  this  religiosity.  The  spirits  (^  a  _ 
who  governed  the  coming  and  going  of  vegetation  and  the  paths  o£  ^--*^  ' 
celestial  bodies  important  for  the  seasons  of  the  year  became  the  pre- 
ferred carriers  of  the  myths  of  the  suffering,  dying,  and  resurrecting  god 
to  needful  men.  The  resurrected  god  guaranteed  the  return  of  good 
fortune  in  this  world  or  the  security  of  happiness  in  the  world  beyond. 
Or,  a  popularized  figure  from  heroic  sagas — like  Krishna  in  India — is 
embellished  with  the  myths  of  childhood,  love,  and  struggle;  and  such 
figures  became  the  object  of  an  ardent  cult  of  the  savior.  Among  people 
under  poHtical  pressure,  like  the  Israelites,  the  title  of  'savior'  (Moshuach 
name)  was  originally  attached  to  the  saviors  from  political  distress,  as 
transmitted  by  hero  sagas  (Gideon,  Jephthah).  The  'Messianic'  promises 
were  determined  by  these  sagas.  With  this  people,  and  in  this  clear-cut 
fashion  only  among  them  and  under  other  very  particular  conditions,  the 
suffering  of  a  people's  community,  rather  than  the  suffering  of  an  indi- 
vidual, became  the  object  of  hope  for  religious  salvation.  The  rule  was 
that  the  savior  bore  an  individual  and  universal  character  at  the  same 
time  that  he  was  ready  to  guarantee  salvation  for  the  individual  and 
to  every  individual  who  would  turn  to  him. 

The  figure  of  the  savior  has  been  of  varying  stamp.  In  the  late  form 
of  Zoroastrianism  with  its  numerous  abstractions,  a  purely  constructed 
figure  assumed  the  role  of  the  mediator  and  savior  in  the  economy  of 
salvation.  The  reverse  has  also  occurred:  a  historical  person,  legitimized 
through  miracles  and  visionary  reappearances,  ascends  to  the  rank  of 
savior.  Purely  historical  factors  have  been  decisive  for  the  realization  of 
these  very  different  possibilities.  Almost  always,  however,  some  kind  of 
theodicy  of  suffering  has  originated  from  the  hope  for  salvation. 

The  promises  of  the  religions  of  salvation  at  first  remained  tied  to 
ritualTstj-ather  than  to  ethical  preconditions.  Thus,  for  instance,  both 
the  worldly  and  the  other  worldly  advantages  of  the  Eleusinian  mysteries 
were  tied  to  ritual  purity  and  to  attendance  at  the  Eleusinian  mass.  When 


law  gained  in  significance,  these  special  deities  played  an  increasing  role, 
and  the  task  of  protecting  the  traditional  order,  of  punishing  the  unjust 
and  rewarding  the  righteous,  was  transferred  to  them  as  guardians  of 
juridical  procedure. 

Where  religious  development  was  decisively  influenced  by  a  prophecy, 
naturally  'sin'  was  no  longer  a  mere  magical  offense.  Above  all,  it  was  a 
f'sigiuii-disb.eliei  in  the  prophet  and  in  his  commandments.  Sin  figured 
as  the  basic  cause  of  all  sorts  of  misfortunes. 

The  propliet  has  not  regularly  been  a  ^descendant  or  a  representative  of 
depressed  classes.  The  reverse,  as  we  shall  see,  has  almost  always  been 
the~Tule.  Neither  has  the  content  of  the  prophet's  doctrine  been  derived 
preponderantly  from  the  intellectual  horizon  of  the  depressed  classes. 
As  3  rule,  however,  the  oppressed,  or  at  least  those  threatened  by  distress, 
were  in  need  of  a  redeemer  and  prophet;  the  fortunate,  the  propertied, 
the  ruling  strata  were  not  in  such  need.  Therefore,  in  the  great  majority 
of  cases,  a  prophetically  announced  religion  of  redemption  has  had  its " 
permanent  locus  among  the  less-favored  social  strata.  Among  these,  such' 
religiosity  has  either  been  a  substitute  for,  or  a  rational  supplement  to, 
'"  magic. 

Wherever  the  promises  of  the  prophet  or  the  redeemer  have  not  suf- 
ficiently met  the  needs  of  the  socially  less-favored  strata,  a  secondary 
salvation  religion  of  the  masses  has  regularly  developed  beneath  the 
official  doctrine.  The  rational  conception  of  the  world  is  contained  in 
germ  within  the  myth  of  the  redeemer.  A  rational  theodicy  of  misfortune 
has,  therefore,  as  a  rule,  been  a  development  of  this  conception  of  the 
wpxld.  At  the  same  time,  this  rational  view  of  the  world  has  often  fur- 
nished suffering  as  such  with  a  'plus'  sign,  which  was  originally  quite 
foreign  to  it. 

Suffering,  voluntarily  created  through  mortification,  changed  its  mean- 
in^^Tth  the  development  of  ethical  divinities  who  punish  and  reward. 
Originally,  the  magical  coercion  of  spirits  by  the  formula  of  prayer  was 
increased  through  mortification  as  a  source  of  charismatic  states.  Such 
coercion  was  preserved  in  mortification  by  prayer  as  well  as  in  cultic 
prescriptions  of  abstinence.  This  has  remained  the  case,  even  after  the 
magical  formula  for  coercing  spirits  became  a  supplication  to  be  heard 
by  a  deity.  Penances  were  added  as  a  means  of  cooling  the  wrath  of 
deities  by  repentance,  and  of  avoiding  through  self-punishment  the  sanc- 
tions that  have  been  incurred.  The  numerous  abstinences  were  originally 
attached  to  the  mourning  for  the  dead  (with  special  clarity  in  China)  in 


order  to  turn  away  their  jealousy  and  wrath.  These  abstinences  were 
easily  transferred  to  relations  with  the  appropriate  divinities;  they  made 
self-mortification,  and  finally,  unintentional  deprivation  as  such,  appear 
more  pleasing  to  the  gods  than  the  naive  enjoyment  of  the  goods  of  this 
earth.  Such  enjoyment,  indeed,  made  the  pleasure-seeking  man  less  acces- 
sible to  the  influence  of  the  prophet  or  the  priest. 

The  force  of  all  these  individual  factors  was  tremendously  enhanced 
under  certain  conditions. 

Thg-aeed  for  an  ethical  interpretation  of  the  'meaning'  of  the  distri- 
bution of  fortunes  among  men  increased  with  the  growing  rationality 
of  conceptions  of  the  world.  As  the  religious  and  ethical  reflections  upon 
the  world  were  increasingly  rationalized  and  primitive,  and  magical 
notions  were  eliminated,  the  theodicy  of  suffering  encountered  increasing 
difficulties.  Individually  'undeserved'  woe  was  all  too  frequent;  not  'good' 
but  'bad'  men  succeeded — even  when  'good'  and  'bad'  were  measured 
by  the  yardstick  of  the  master  stratum  and  not  by  that  of  a  'slave 

One  can  explain  suffering  and  injustice  by  referring  to  individual  sin 
committed  in  a  former  life  (the  migration  of  souls),  to  the  guilt  of 
ancestors,  which  is  avenged  down  to  the  third  and  fourth  generation,  or — 
the  most  principled — to  the  wickedness  of  all  creatures  per  se.  As  com- 
pensatory promises,  one  can  refer  to  liopes  of  the  individual  for  a  better 
lifein  the  future  in  this  world  (transmigration  of  souls)  or  to  hopes  for 
the  successors  (Messianic  realm)^_^r^o  a  better  life  in  the  hereafter 

The  metaphysical  conception  of  God  and  of  the  world,  which  the 
ineradicable  demand  for  a  theodicy  called  forth,  could  produce  only  a  l^J^^ 
few  systems  of  ideas  on  the  whole — as  we  shall  see,  only  three.  These  /.  jL 

three_gave  rationally  satisfactory  answers  to  the  questioning  for  the  basis 
of  the  incongruity  between  destiny  and  merit:  the  Indian  doctrine  of       ^ 
Kharma,  Zoroastrian  dualism,  and  the  predestination  decree  of  the  deus 
abscpndidus.  These  solutions  are  rationally  closed;  in  pure  form,^  they 
ar£_iciund  only  as  exceptions. 

The  rational  need  for  a  theodicy  of  suffering  and  of  dying  has  had 
extremely  strong  effects.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  this  need  has  molded  impor- 
tant traits  of  such  religions  as  Hinduism,  Zoroastrism,  and  Judaism,  and, 
to  a  certain  extent,  Paulinian  and  later  Christianity.  Even  as  late  as  1906, 
a  mere  minority  among  a  rather  considerable  number  of  proletarians 
gave  as  reasons  for  their  disbelief  in  Christianity  conclusions  derived 


from  modern  theories  of  natural  sciences.  The  majority,  however,  re- 
ferred to  the  'injustice'  of  the  order  of  this  world — to  be  sure,  essentially 
because  they  believed  in  a  revolutionary  compensation  in  this  world. 

The  theodicy  of  suffering  can  be  colored  by  resentment.  But  the  need 
of  compensation  for  the  insufficiency  of  one's  fate  in  this  world  has  not, 
as  a  rule,  had  resentment  as  a  basic  and  decisive  color.  Certainly,  the 
need  for  vengeance  has  had  a  special  affinity  with  the  belief  that  the 
unjust  are  well  oil  in  this  world  only  because  hell  is  reserved  for  them 
later.  Eternal  bliss  is  reserved  for  the  pious;  occasional  sins,  which,  after 
all,  the  pious  also  commit,  ought  therefore  to  be  expiated  in  this  world. 
Yet  one  can  readily  be  convinced  that  even  this  way  of  thinking,  which 
occasionally  appears,  is  not  always  determined  by  resentment,  and  that 
it  Ts  by  no  means  always  the  product  of  socially  oppressed  strata.  We 
shall  see  that  there  have  been  only  a  few  examples  of  religion  to  which 
resentment  contributed  essential  features.  Among  these  examples  only  one 
is  a  fully  developed  case.  All  that  can  be  said  is  that  resentment  could  be, 
and  often  and  everywhere  has  been,  significant  as  one  factor,  among 
others,  in  influencing  the  religiously  determined  rationalism  of  socially 
disadvantaged  strata.  It  has  gained  such  significance,  in  highly  diverse 
and  often  minute  degrees,  in  accordance  with  the  nature  of  the  promises 
held  out  by  different  religions. 

In  any  case,  it  would  be  quite  wrong  to  attempt  to  deduce  'asceticism' 
in  general  from  these  sources.  The  distrust  of  wealth  and  power,  which 
as  a  rule  exists  in  genuine  religions  of  salvation,  has  had  its  natural  basis 
primarily  in  the  experience  of  redeemers,  prophets,  and  priests.  They 
understood  that  those  strata  which  were  'satiated'  and  favored  in  this 
world  had  only  a  small  urge  to  be  saved,  regardless  of  the  kind  of  salva- 
tion offered.  Hence,  these  master  strata  have  been  less  'devout'  in  the 
sense  of  salvation  religions.  The  development  of  a  rational  religious  ethic 
has  had  positive  and  primary  roots  in  the  inner  conditions  of  those  social 
strata  which  were  less  socially  valued. 

Strata  in  solid  possession  of  social  honor  and  power  usually  tend  to 
fashion  their  status-legend  in  such  a  way  as  to  claim  a  special  and  in- 
trinsic quality  of  their  own,  usually  a  quality  of  blood;  their  sense  of 
dignity  feeds  on  their  actual  or  alleged  being.  The  sense  of  dignity  of 
socially  repressed  strata  or  of  strata  whose  status  is  negatively  (or  at  least 
not  positively)  valued  is  nourished  most  easily  on  the  belief  that  a  special 
'mission'  is  entrusted  to  them;  their  worth  is  guaranteed  or  constituted 
by  an  ethical  imperative,  or  by  their  own  functional  achievement.  Their 


value  Is  thus  moved  into  something  beyond  themselves,  into  a  'task' 
placed  before  them  by  God.  One  source  of  the  ideal  power  of  ethical 
prophecies  among  socially  disadvantaged  strata  lies  in  this  fact.  Resent- 1 
rnent  has  not  been  required  as  a  leverage;  the  rational  interest  in  inaterial  i 
and  ideal  compensations  as  such  has  been  perfectly  sufficient.  ( 

There  can  be  no  doubt  that  prophets  and  priests  through  intentional 
or  unintentional  propaganda  have  taken  the  resentment  of  the  masses 
into  their  service.  But  this  is  by  no  means  always  the  case.  This  essentially 
negative  force  of  resentment,  so  far  as  is  known,  has  never  been  the 
source  of  those  essentially  metaphysical  conceptions  which  have  lent 
uniqueness  to  every  salvation  religion.  Moreover,  in  general,  the  nature 
of  a  religious  promise  has  by  no  means  necessarily  or  even  predominantly 
been  the  mere  mouthpiece  of  a  class  interest,  either  of  an  external  or 
internal  nature. 

By  themselves,  the  masses,  as  we  shall  see,  have  everywhere  remained 
engulfed  in  the  massive  and  archaic  growth  of  magic — unless  a  prophecy 
that  holds  out  specific  promises  has  swept  them  into  a  religious  move- 
ment of  an  ethical  character.  For  the  rest,  the  specific  nature  of  the  great 
religious  and  ethical  systems  has  been  determined  by  social  conditions  of 
a  far  more  particular  nature  than  by  the  mere  contrast  of  ruHng  and  ruled 

In  order  to  avoid  repetition,  some  further  comments  about  these  rela- 
tionships may  be  stated  in  advance.  For  the  empirical  student,  the  sacred 
values,  differing  among  themselves,  are  by  no  means  only,  nor  even 
preferably,  to  be  interpreted  as  'other-worldly.'  This  is  so  quite  apart 
from  the  fact  that  not  every  religion,  nor  every  world  religion,  knows  of 
a  'beyond'  as  a  locus  of  definite  promises.  At  first  the  sacred  values  of 
primitive  as  well  as  of  cultured,  prophetic  or  non-prophetic,  religions 
were  quite  solid  goods  of  this  world.  With  the  only  partial  exception  of 
Christianity  and  a  few  other  specifically  ascetic  creeds,  they  have  con- 
sisted of  health,  a  long  life,  and  wealth.  These  were  offered  by  the 
promises  of  the  Chinese,  Vedic,  Zoroastrian,  ancient  Hebrew,  and  Islam- 
ite religions;  and  in  the  same  manner  by  the  Phoenician,  Egyptian, 
Babylonian,  and  ancient  Germanic  religions,  as  well  as  by  the  promises 
of  Hinduism  and  Buddhism  for  the  devout  laymen.  Only  the  religious 
virtuoso,  the  ascetic,  the  monk,  the  Sufi,  the  Dervish  "strove^  for  sacred" 
valueSj-wliich  were  'other-worldly'  as  compared  with  such  solid  goods  of 
this  world,  as  health,  wealth,  and  long  Hfe.  And  these  other-worldly 
sacred  values  were  by  no  means  only  values  of  the  beyond.  This  was  not 


the  case  even  where  it  was  understood  to  be  so  by  the  participants. 
Psychologically  considered,  man  in  quest  of  salvation  has  been  primarily 
preoccupied  by  attitudes  of  the  here  and  now.  The  puritan  certitudo  salutis, 
the  permanent  state  of  grace  that  rests  in  the  feeling  of  'having  proved 
oneself,'  was  psychologically  the  only  concrete  object  among  the  sacred 
values  of  this  ascetic  religion.  The  Buddhist  monk,  certain  to  enter  Nir- 
vana, seeks  the  sentiment  of  a  cosmic  love;  the  devout  Hindu  seeks 
either  Bhakti  (fervent  love  in  the  possession  of  God)  or  apathetic  ecstasy. 
The  Chlyst  with  his  radjeny,  as  well  as  the  dancing  Dervish,  strives  for 
orgiastic  ecstasy.  Others  seek  to  be  possessed  by  God  and  to  possess  God, 
to  be  a  bridegroom  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  or  to  be  the  bride  of  the  Savior. 
The  Jesuit's  cult  of  the  heart  of  Jesus,  quietistic  edification,  the  pietists' 
tender  love  for  the  child  Jesus  and  its  'running  sore,'*  the  sexual  and 
semi-sexual  orgies  at  the  wooing  of  Krishna,  the  sophisticated  cultic 
dinners  of  the  Vallabhacharis,  the  gnostic  onanist  cult  activities,  the 
various  forms  of  the  tinio  mystica,  and  the  contemplative  submersion  in 
the  All-one — ^these  states  undoubtedly  have  been  sought,  first  of  all,  for 
the  sake  of  such  emotional  value  as  they  directly  offered  the  devout.  In 
this  respect,  they  have  in  fact  been  absolutely  equal  to  the  religious  and 
alcoholic  intoxication  of  the  Dionysian  or  the  soma  cult;  to  totemic  meat- 
orgies,  the  cannibalistic  feasts,  the  ancient  and  religiously  consecrated 
use  of  hashish,  opium,  and  nicotine;  and,  in  general,  to  all  sorts  of  mag- 
ical intoxication.  They  have  been  considered  specifically  consecrated  and 
divine  because  of  their  psychic  extraordinariness  and  because  of  the 
intrinsic  value  of  the  respective  states  conditioned  by  them.  Even  the 
most  primitive  orgy  has  not  entirely  lacked  a  meaningful  interpretation, 
although  only  the  rationalized  religions  have  imputed  a  metaphysical 
meaning  into  such  specifically  religious  actions,  in  addition  to  the  direct 
appropriation  of  sacred  values.  Rationalized  religions  have  thus  subli- 
mated the  orgy  into  the  'sacrament?~The  orgy,  however,  has  had  a  pure 
animist  and  magical  character;  it  has  contained  only  small  or,  indeed, 
no  beginnings  of  the  universalist,  cosmic  pragmatism  of  the  holy.  And 
such  pragmatism  is  peculiar  to  all  religious  rationalism. 

Yet  even  after  such  a  sublimation  of  orgy  into  sacrament  has  occurred, 
the  fact  remains,  oT  course,  that  for  the  devout  the  sacred  value,  first  and 
above  all,  has  been  a  psychological  state  in  the  here  and  now.  Primarily 
this  state  consists  in  the  emotional  attitude  fer  se,  which  was  directly 
called  forth  by  the  specifically  religious  (or  magical)  act,  by  nietho3ical 
asceticism,  or  by  contemplation.  —  -^ 


As  extraordinary  attitudes,  religious  states  can  be  only  transient  in 
character  and  in  external  appearance.  Originally  this,  of  course,  was 
everywhere  the  case.  The  only  way  of  distinguishing  between  'religious' 
and  'profane'  states  is  by  referring  to  the  extraordinary  character  of  the 
religious  states.  A  special  state,  attained  by  religious  means,  can  be  striven 
for  as  a  'holy  state'  which  is  meant  to  take  possession  of  the  entire  man 
and  of  his  lasting  fate.  The  transition  from  a  passing  to  a  permanent  holy 
state  has  been  fluid, 

Tljg.  t>vo  highest  conceptions  of  sublimated  religious  doctrines  of  salva- 
tion are  'rebirth'  and  'redemption.'  Rebirth,  a  primeval  magical  value,  has 
meant  the  acquisition  of  a  new  soul  by  means  of  an  orgiastic  act  or 
through  methodically  planned  asceticism.  Man  transitorily  acquired  a 
new  soul  in  ecstasy;  but  by  means  of  magical  asceticism,  he  could  seek 
to  gain  it  permanently.  The  youth  who  wished  to  enter  the  community 
of  warriors  as  a  hero,  or  to  participate  in  its  magical  dances  or  orgies,  or 
who  wished  to  commune  with  the  divinities  in  cultic  feasts,  had  to  have 
a  new  soul.  The  heroic  and  magical  asceticism,  the  initiation  rites  of 
youths,  and  the  sacramental  customs  of  rebirth  at  important  phases  of 
private  and  collective  life  are  thus  quite  ancient.  The  means  used  in 
these  activities  varied,  as  did  their  ends:  that  is,  the  answers  to  the  ques- 
tion, 'For  what  should  I  be  reborn?' 

The  various  religious  or  magical  states  that  have  given  their  psycho- 
logical stamp  to  religions  may  be  systematized  according  to  very  different 
points  of  view.  Here  we  shall  not  attempt  such  a  systematization.  In 
connection  with  what  we  have  said,  we  merely  wish  to  indicate  quite 
generally  the  following. 

The  kind  of  empirical  state  of  bliss  or  experience  of  rebirth  that  is 
soughtafter  as  the  supreme  value  by  a  religion  has  obviously  and  neces- 
sarily^vaneT^rordlnglo^the^character  ofThe  stratum  which  was  fore- 
most^m'  adopting  it.  Thr  chivalrous  warrior  class,  peasants,  business 
classes,  and  intellectuals  with  literary  education  have  naturally  pursued 
different  religious  tendencies.  As  will  become  evident,  these  tendencies 
hkVe  not  by  themselves  determined  the  psychological  character  of  religion; 
they  have,  however,  exerted  a  very  lasting  influence  upon  it.  The  contrast 
between  warrior  and  peasant  classes,  and  intellectual  and  business  classes, 
is  of  special  importance.  Of  these  groups,  the  intellectuals  have  always 
been  the  exponents  of  a  rationalism  which  in  their  case  has  been  rela- 
tively theoretical.  The  business  classes  (merchants  and  artisans)  have  been 
at  least  possible  exponents  of  rationalism  of  a  more  practical  sort.  Rational- 


ism  of  either  kind  has  borne  very  different  stamps,  but  has  always  exerted 
a  great  influence  upon  the  religious  attitude. 

Above  all,  the  peculiarity  of  the  intellectual  strata  in  this  matter  has 
been  in  the  past  of  the  greatest  importance  for  religion.  At  the  present 
time,  it  matters  little  in  the  development  of  a  religion  whether  or  not 
modern  intellectuals  feel  the  need  of  enjoying  a  'religious'  state  as  an 
'experience,'  in  addition  to  all  sorts  of  other  sensations,  in  order  to  deco- 
rate their  internal  and  stylish  furnishings  with  paraphernalia  guaranteed 
to  be  genuine  and  old.  A  religious  revival  has  never  sprung  from  such  a 
source.  In  the  past,  it  was  the  work  of  the  intellectuals  to  sublimate  the 
possession  of  sacred  values  into  a  belief  in  'redemption.'  The  conception 
of  the  idea  of  redemption,  as  such,  is  very  old,  if  one  understands  by  it  a 
liberation  from  distress,  hunger,  drought,  sickness,  and  ultimately  from 
suffering  and  death.  Yet  redemption  attained  a  specific  significance  only 
where  it  expressed  a  systematic  and  rationalized  'image  of  the  world'  and 
represented  a  stand  in  the  face  of  the  world.  For  the  meaning  as  well  as 
the  intended  and  actual  psychological  quality  of  redemption  has  de- 
pended upon  such  a  world  image  and  such  a  stand.  Not  ideas,  but 
material  and  ideal  interests,  directly  govern  men's  conduct.  Yet  very  fre- 
quently the  'world  images'  that  have  been  created  by  'ideas'  have,  like 
switchmen,  determined  the  tracks  along  which  action  has  been  pushed 
by  the  dynamic  of  interest.  'From  what'  and  'for  what'  one  wished  to 
be  redeemed  and,  let  us  not  forget,  'could  be'  redeemed,  depended  upon 
one's  image  of  the  world. 

There  have  been  very  different  possibilities  in  this  connection:  One  could 
wish  to  be  saved  from  political  and  social  servitude  and  lifted  into  a 
Messianic  realm  in  the  future  of  this  world;  or  one  could  wish  to  be  saved 
from  being  defiled  by  ritual  impurity  and  hope  for  the  pure  beauty  of 
psychic  and  bodily  existence.  One  could  wish  to  escape  being  incarcerated 
in  an  impure  body  and  hope  for  a  purely  spiritual  existence.  One  could  wish 
to~be  saved  from  the  eternal  and  senseless  play  of  human  passions  and  de- 
sires and  hope  for  the  quietude  of  the  pure  beholding  of  the  divine.  One 
could  wish  to  be  saved  from  radical  evil  and  the  servitude  of  sin  and-hope 
for  the  eternal  and  free  benevolence  in  the  lap  of  a  fatherly  god.  One  could 
wish  to  be  saved  from  peonage  under  the  astrologically  conceived  determi- 
nation of  stellar  constellations  and  long  for  the  dignity  of  freedom  and  par- 
taking of  the  substance  of  the  hiddeii  deity.  One  coiild" wish  to  be  redeemed 
from  the  barriers  to  the  finite,  which  express  themselves  in  suffering,  misery 
and  death,  and  the  threatening  punishment  of  hell,  and  hope  for  an  eternal 


bliss  in  an  earthly  or  paradisical  future  existence.  One  could  wish  to  be 
saved  from  the  cycle  of  rebirths  with  their  inexorable  compensations  for       1 
the  deeds  of  the  times  past  and  hope  for  eternal  rest.  One  could  wish  to 
be  saved  from  senseless  brooding  and  events  and  long  for  the  dreamless 
sleep.  Many  more  varieties  of  belief  have,  of  course,  existed.  Behind  them 
always  lies^  a  stand  towards  something  in  the  actual  world  which  is 
experienoed_as  specifically  'senseless.'  Thus,  the  demand  has  been  implied: 
that  the  world  order  in  its  totality  is,  could,  and  should  somehow  be  a 
meaningful  'cosmos.'  This  quest,  ;the  core  of  genuine  religious  rational-  0  \ 
ism,Jias_heen-bom€  precisely  by  strata  of  intellectuals.] The  avenues,  the  \ 
results,  and  the  efficacy  of  this  metaphysical  need  for  a  meaningful  cosmos  \ 
have" varied  widely.  Nevertheless,  some  general  comments  may  be  made.  / 

The  general  result  of  the  modern  form  of  thoroughly  rationalizing  the 
conception  of  the  world  and  of  the  way  of  life,  theoretically  and  prac- 
tically, in  a  purposive  manner,  has  been  that  religion  has  been  shifted 
into  the  realm  of  the  irrational.  This  has  been  the  more  the  case  the  fur- 
ther the  purposive  type  of  rationalization  has  progressed,  if  one  takes  the 
standpoint  of  an  intellectual  articulation  of  an  image  of  the  world.  This 
^*s;«hift  of  religion  into  the  irrational  realm  has  occurred  for  several  reasons.  ,1, 
(IpnThe  one  hand,  the  calculation  of  consistent  rationalism  has  not  easily 
come  out  even  with  nothing  left  over.  In  music,  the  Pythagorean  'comma' 
resisted  complete  rationalization  oriented  to  tonal  physics.  The  various 
great  systems  of  music  of  all  peoples  and  ages  have  differed  in  the  man- 
ner in  which  they  have  either  covered  up  or  bypassed  this  inescapable 
irrationality  or,  on  the  other  hand,  put  irrationality  into  the  service  of 
the  richness  of  tonalities.  The  same  has  seemed  to  happen  to  the  theoret- 
ical conception  of  the  world,  only  far  more  so;  and  above  all,  it  has 
seemed  to  happen  to  the  rationalization  of  practical  life.  The  various 
great  ways  of  leading  a  rational  and  methodical  life  have  been  charac- 
terized bjT  Irrational  presuppositions,  which  have  been  accepted  simply 
as  'given'  and  which  have  been  incorporated  into  such  ways  of  life.  What 
these  presuppositions  have  been  is  historically  and  socially  determined, 
at  least  to  a  very  large  extent,  through  the  peculiarity  of  those  strata  that 
have  been  the  carriers  of  the  ways  of  life  during  its  formative  and  de-  • 
cisive  period.  The  interest  situation  of  these  strata,  as  determined  socially 
and  psychologically,  has  made  for  their  peculiarity,  as  we  here  under- 
stand it. 

/jpTLirthermore,  the  irrational  elements  in  the  rationalization  of  reality 
nSvebeen  the  loci  to  which  the  irrepressible  quest  of  intellectualism  for 


the  possession  of  supernatural  values  has  been  compelled  to  retreat.  That 
is  the  more  so  the  more  denuded  of  irrationality  the  world  appears  to  be. 
The  unity  of  the  primitive  image  of  the  world,  in  which  everything  was 
concrete  magic,  has  tended  to  split  into  rational  cognition  and  mastery 
of  nature,  on  the  one  hand,  and  into  'mystic'  experiences,  on  the  other. 
The  inexpressible  contents  of  such  experiences  remain  the  only  possible 
'beyond,'  added  to  the  mechanism  of  a  world  robbed  of  gods.  In  fact,  the 
beyond  remains  an  incorporeal  and  rrjetaphysical  realm  in  which  indi- 
viduals intimately  possess  the  holy.  'Where  this  conclusion  has  been 
drawn  without  any  residue,  the  individual  can  pursue  his  quest  for  sal- 
vation only  as  an  individuaU  Tl^is  phenomenon  appears  in  some  form, 
with  progressive  intellectualist  rationalism,  wherever  men  have  ventured 
to  rationalize  the  image  of  the  world  as  being  a  cosmos  governed  by 
impersonal  rules.  Naturally  it  has  occurred  most  strongly  among  religions 
and  religious  ethics  which  have  been  quite  strongly  determined  by  gen- 
teel strata  of  intellectuals  devoted  to  the  purely  cognitive  comprehension 
of  the  world  and  of  its  'meaning.'  This  was  the  case  with  Asiatic  and, 
above  all,  Indian  world  religions.  For  all  of  them,  contemplation  became 
the  supreme  and  ultimate  religious  value  accessible  to  man.  Contempla- 
"^ion  offered  them  entrance  into  the  profound  and  blissful  tranquillity 
and  immobility  of  the  All-one.  All  other  forms  of  religious  states,  how- 
ever, have  been  at  best  considered  a  relatively  valuable  Ersatz  for  con- 
templation. This  has  had  far-reaching  consequences  for  the  relation  of 
religion  to  life,  including  economic  life,  as  we  shall  repeatedly  see.  Such 
consequences  flow  from  the  general  character  of  'mystic'  experiences,  in 
the  contemplative  sense,  and  from  the  psychological  preconditions  of  the 
search  for  them. 

The  situation  in  which  strata  decisive  for  the  development  of  a  religion 
were  active  in  practical  life  has  been  entirely  different.  Where  they  were 
chivalrous  warrior  heroes,  political  officials,  economically  acquisitive 
classes,  or,  finally,  where  an  organized  hierocracy  dominated  religion,  the 
results  were  difTerent  than  where  genteel  intellectuals  were  decisive. 

The  rationalism  of  hierocracy  grew  out  of  the  professional  preoccupa- 
tion with  cult  and  myth  or — to  a  far  higher  degree — out  of  the  cure  of 
souls,  that  is,  the  confession  of  sin  and  counsel  to  sinners.  Everywhere 
hierocracy  has  sought  to  monopolize  the  administration  of  religious 
values.  They  have  also  sought  to  bring  and _tg_temper  the  bestowal  of 
religious  goods  into  the  form  of  'sacramental'  or  'corporate  grace,'  which 
could  l)e  rituallylleestowed  only~by  "the  priesthood  and  could  not  be 


attained  by  the  individual.  Tlie  individual's  quest  for  salvation  or  the 
quest  of'free  communities  by  means  o£  contemplation,  orgies,  or  asceti- 
cism, has  been  considered  highly  suspect  and  has  had  to  be  regulated 
ritually  and,  above  all,  controlled  hierocratically.  From  the  standpoint  of 
the  interests  of  the  priesthood  in  power,  this  is  only  natural. 

Every  body  of  political  officials,  on  the  other  hand,  has  been  suspicious 
of  all  sorts  of  individual  pursuits  of  salvation  and  of  the  free  formation 
of  communities  as  sources  of  emancipation  from  domestication  at  the 
hands  of  the  institution  of  the  state.  Political  officials  have  distrusted  the 
competing  priestly  corporation  of  grace  and,  above  all,  at  bottom  they 
have  despised  the  very  quest  for  these  impractical  values  lying  beyond 
utilitarian  and  worldly  ends.  For  all  political  bureaucracies,  religious 
duties  have  ultimately  been  simply  official  or  social  obligations  of  the 
citizenry  and  of  status  groups.  Ritual  has  corresponded  to  rules  and 
regulations,  and,  therefore,  wherever  a  bureaucracy  has  determined  its 
nature,  religion  has  assumed  a  ritualist  character. 

It  is  also  usual  for  a  stratum  of  chivalrous  warriors  to  pursue  abso- 
lutely  worlHly  interests  and  to  be  remote  from  all  'mysticism.'  Such  strata, 
however,  have  lacked — and  this  is^cRaracteristic  of  heroism  in  general — 
the  desire  as  well  as  the  capacity  for  a  rational  mastery  of  reality.  The 
irrationality  of  'fate'  and,  under  certain  conditions,  the  idea  of  a  vague 
and  deterrninistically  conceived  'destiny'  (the  Homeric  Moira)  has  stood 
above  and  behind  the  divinities  and  demons  who  were  conceived  of  as 
passionate  and  strong  heroes,  measuring  out  assistance  and  hostility, 
glory  and  booty,  or  death  to  the  human  heroes. 

Peasants  havej3een  inclined  towards  magic.  Their  whole  economic 
existence^has-been  specifically  bound  to  nature  and  has  made  them  de- 
pendent upon  elemental  forces.  They  readily  believe  in  a  compelling 
sorcery  directed  against  spirits  who  rule  over  or  through  natural  forces, 
or  they  believe  in  simply  buying  divine  benevolence.  Only  tremendous 
transformations  of  life-orientation  have  succeeded  in  tearing  them  away 
from  this  universal  and  primeval  form  of  religiosity.  Such  transformations 
have  been  derived  either  from  other  strata  or  from  mighty  prophets,  who, 
through  the  power  of  miracles,  legitimize  themselves  as  sorcerers.  Orgias- 
tic and  ecstatic  states  of  'possession,'  produced  by  means  of  toxics  or  by 
the  dance,  are  strange  to  the  status  honor  of  knights  because  they  are 
considered  undignified.  Among  the  peasants,  however,  such  states  have 
taken  the  place  that  'mysticism'  holds  among  the  intellectuals. 

Finally,  we  may  consider  the  strata  that  in  the  western  European 

284  •"-""TN  religion 

sense  are  calledT 'civic,'  as  well  as  those  which  elsewhere  correspond  to 
them:  artisans,  tracers,  enterprisers  engaged  in  cottage  industry,  and 
their  derivatives  existing  only  in  the  modern  Occident.  Apparently  these 
strata  have  been  the  most  ambiguous  with  regard  to  the  religious  stands 
open  to  them.  And  this  is  especially  important  to  us. 
^1  Among  these  'civic'  strata  the  following  religious  phenomena  have  had 

especially  strong  roots:  the  institutional  and  sacramental  grace  of  the 
Roman  church  in  the  medfeval  cities — the  pillars  of  the  popes;  the_mys- 
tagogic  and"sacramental  grace  in  the  ancient  cities  and  in  India;  the 
orgiastic  and  contemj)lative  Sufi,  and  Dervish  religion  of  the  Middle 
Eastern  Orient;  the  Taoist  magic;  the  Buddhist  contemplation;  the 
ritualist  appropriation  of  grace  under  the  direction  of  souls  by  mysta- 
gogues  in  Asia;  all  the  forms  of  love  for  a  savior;  the  beliefs  in  redemp- 
tion the  world  over,  from  the  cult  of  Krishna  to  the  cult  of  Christ;  the 
rational  ritualism  of  the  law  and  the  sermon  of  the  synagogue  denuded 
of  all  magic  among  Jewry;  the  pneumatic  and  ancient  as  well  as  the 
ascetTcisr^medieval  sects;  the  grace  of  predestination  and  the  ethical 
regeneration  of  the  Puritan  and  the  Methodist;  as  well  as  all  sorts  of 
individual'  pursuits  of  salvation.  All  of  these  have  been  more  firmly 
rooted  among  'civic'  strata  than  among  any  other. 

Of  course,  the  religions  of  all  strata  are  certainly  far  from  being  un- 
ambiguously dependent  upon  the  character  of  the  strata  we  have  pre- 
j    ,    sented  as  having  special  affinities  with  them.  Yet,  at  first  sight,  civic 
I     j    strata  appear,  in  this  respect  and  on  the  whole,  to  lend  themselves  to  a 
j     more  varied  determination.  Yet  it  is  precisely  among  these  strata  that 
I     elective  affinities  for  special  types  of  religion  stand  out.  TJi£_tendency 
towards  a  practical  rationalism  in  conduct  is  common  to  all  civic  strata;  it 
'is'cohditioned  by  the  nature  of  their  way  of  life,  which  is  greatly  detached 
frorn  economic  bonds  to  nature.  Their  whole  existence  has  been  based 
upon  technological  or  economic  calculations  and  upon  the  mastery  of 
nature  and  of  man,  however  primitive  the  means  at  their  disposal.  The 
technique  of  living  handed  down  among  them  may,  of  course,  be  frozen 
in  traditionalism,  as  has  occurred  repeatedly  and  everywhere.  But  pre- 
cisely for  these,  there  has  always  existed  the  possibility — even  though  in 
greatly  varying  measure — of  letting  an  ethical  and  rational  regulation  of 
life  arise.  This  may  occur  by  the  linkage  of  such  an  ethic  to  the  tendency 
of   technological   and   economic   rationalism.    Such   regulation   has   not 
always  been  able  to  make  headway  against  traditions  which,  in  the  main, 
were  magically  stereotyped.  But  where  prophecy  has  provided  a  religious 


basis,  this  basis  could  be  one  of  two  fundamental  types  of  prophecy  which 
we  shall  repeatedly  discuss:  'exemplary'  prophecy,  and  'emissary'  prophecy. 

Exemplary  prophecy  points  out  the  path  to  salvation  by  exemplary 
living^usually  by  a  contemplative  and  apathetic-ecstatic  life.  The  emis- 
sary type  of  prophecy  addresses  its  demands  to  the  world  in  the  name 
of  a  god.  Naturally  these  demands  are  ethical;  and  they  are  often  of  an 
active  ascetic  character. 

It  is  quite  understandable  that  the  more  weighty  the  civic  strata  as  such 
have  been,  and  the  more  they  have  been  torn  from  bonds  of  taboo  and 
from  divisions  into  sibs  and  castes,  the  more  favorable  has  been  the  soil 
for  religions  that  call  for  action  in  this  world.  Under  these  conditions, 
the  preferred  religious  attitude  could  become  the  attitude  of  active  asceti- 
cism, of  God-wiUed  action  nourished  by  the  sentiment  of  being  God's 
'tool,'  rather  than  the  possession  of  the  deity  or  the  inward  and  contem- 
plative surrender  to  God,  which  has  appeared  as  the  supreme  value  to 
religions  influenced  by  strata  of  genteel  intellectuals.  In  the  Occident  the 
attitude  of  active  asceticism  has  repeatedly  retained  supremacy  over  con- 
templative mysticism  and  orgiastic  or  apathetic  ecstasy,  even  though  these 
latter  types  have  been  well  known  in  the  Occident.  Active  asceticism, 
however,  has  not  been  confined  to  civic  strata.  Such  an  unambiguous 
social  determination  has  not  in  any  way  existed.  The  prophecy  of 
Zoroaster  was  directed  at  the  nobility  and  the  peasantry;  the  prophecy  of 
Islam  was  directed  to  warriors.  These  prophecies,  like  the  Israelite  and 
the  early  Christian  prophecy  and  preaching,  have  had  an  active  character, 
which  stands  in  contrast  with  the  propaganda  of  Buddhism,  Taoism, 
Neo-Pythagorism,  Gnosticism,  and  Sufism.  Certain  specific  conclusions 
of  emissary  prophecies,  however,  have  been  drawn  precisely  on  'civic' 

In  the  missionary  prophecy  the  devout  have  not  experienced  themselves 
as  vessels  of  the  divine  but  rather  as  instruments  of  a  god.  This  emissary 
prophecy  has  had  a  profound  elective  affinity  to  a  special  conception  of 
God:  the  conception  of  a  supra-mundane,  personal,  wrathful,  forgiving, 
loving,  demanding,  punishing  Lord  of  Creation.  Such  a  conception 
stands  in  contrast  to  the  supreme  being  of  exemplary  prophecy.  As  a 
rule,  though  by  no  means  without  exception,  the  supreme  being  of  an 
exemplary  prophecy  is  an  impersonal  being  because,  as  a  static  state,  he 
is  accessible  only  by  means  of  contemplation.  The  conception  of  an,  active 
God,  held  by  emissary  prophecy,  has  dominated  the  Iranian  and  Mid- 
Eastern  religions  and  those  Occidental  religions  which  are  derived  from 


theiru_The  conception  of  a  supreme  and  static  being,  held  by  exemplary 
prophecy,  has  come  to  dominate  Indian  and  Chinese  religiosity. 

These  differences  are  not  primitive  in  nature.  On  the  contrary,  they 
have  come  into  existence  only  by  means  of  a  far-reaching  sublimation  of 
primitive  conceptions  of  animist  spirits  and  of  heroic  deities  which  are 
everywhere  similar  in  nature.  Certainly  the  connection  of  conceptions  of 
God  with  religious  states,  which  are  evaluated  and  desired  as  sacred 
values,  have  also  been  strongly  influential  in  this  process  of  sublimation. 
These  religious  states  have  simply  been  interpreted  in  the  direction  of  a 
different  conception  of  God,  according  to  whether  the  holy  states,  eval- 
uated as  supreme,  were  contemplative  mystic  experiences  or  apathetic 
ecstasy,  or  whether  they  were  the  orgiastic  possession  of  god,  or  visionary 
inspirations  and  'commands.' 

At  the  present  time,  it  is  widely  held  that  one  should  consider  emo- 
tional content  as  primary,  with  thoughts  being  merely  its  secondary 
expression.  Of  course,  this  point  of  view  is  to  a  great  extent  justified. 
From  such  a  standpoint  one  might  be  inclined  to  consider  the  primacy 
of  'psychological'  as  over  against  'rational'  connections  as  the  only  de- 
cisive causal  nexus,  hence  to  view  these  rational  connections  as  mere 
interpretations  of  the  psychological  ones.  This,  however,  would  be  going 
much  too  far,  according  to  factual  evidence.  A  whole  series  of  purely 
historical  motives  have  determined  the  development  toward  the  supra- 
mundane  or  the  immanent  conception  of  God.  These  conceptions,  in 
turn,  have  decisively  influenced  the  way  in  which  experiences  of  salva- 
tion have  been  articulated.  This  definitely  holds  for  the  conception  of 
the  supra-mundane  God,  as  we  shall  see  again  and  again.  If  even  Meister 
Eckhart  occasionally  and  expressly  placed  Martha  above  Mary,  he  did 
so  ultimately  because  he  could  not  realize  the  pantheist  experience  of 
God,  which  is  peculiar  to  the  mystic,  without  entirely  sacrificing  all  the 
decisive  elements  of  Occidental  belief  in  God  and  creation. 

The  rational  elements  of  a  religion,  its  'doctrine,'  also  have  an  auton- 
omy: for  instance,  the  Indian  doctrine  of  Kharma,  the  Calvinist  belief  in 
predestination,  the  Lutheran  justification  through  faith,  and  the  Catholic 
doctrine  of  sacrament.  The  rational  religious  pragmatism  of  salvation, 
flowing  from  the  nature  of  the  images  of  God  and  of  the  world,  have 
under  certain  conditions  had  far-reaching  results  for  the  fashioning  of  a 
practical  way  of  life. 

These  comments  presuppose  that  the  nature  of  the  desired  sacred 
values  has  been  strongly  influenced  by  the  nature  of  the  external  interest- 


situation  and  the  corresponding  way  of  life  of  the  ruHng  strata  and  thus 
by  the  social  stratification  itself.  But  the  reverse  also  holds :  wherever  the 
direction  of  the  whole  way  of  life  has  been  methodically  rationalized,  it 
has  been  profoundly  determined  by  the  ultimate  values  toward  which 
this  rationalization  has  been  directed.  These  values  and  positions  were 
thus  religiously  determined.  Certainly  they  have  not  always,  or  exclu-  ••, 
sively,  been  decisive;  however,  they  have  been  decisive  in  so  far  as  an 
ethical  rationalization  held  sway,  at  least  so  far  as  its  influence  reached. 
As  a  rule,  these  religious  values  have  been  also,  and  frequently  absolutely, 

One  factor  has  been  very  important  in  determining  the  nature  of  the 
mutual  inter-relations  between  external  and  internal  interest-situations. 
The  'supreme'  sacred  values,  which  are  promised  by  religion  and  have 
been  discussed  above,  have  not  necessarily  been  the  most  universal  ones. 
Not  everybody  had  entree  to  Nirvana,  to  the  contemplative  union  with 
the  divine,  the  orgiastic  or  the  ascetic  possession  of  God.  In  a  weakened 
form,  the  transposition  of  persons  into  religious  states  of  frenzy  or  into 
the  trance  may  become  the  object  of  a  universal  cult  of  the  people.  But 
even  in  this  form  such  psychic  states  have  not  been  elements  of  everyday 

The  empirical  fact,  important  for  us,  that  men  are  differently  qualified 
in  a  religious  way  stands  at  the  beginning  of  the  history  of  religion. 
This  fact  had  been  dogmatized  in  the  sharpest  rationalist  form  in  the 
'particularism  of  grace,'  embodied  in  the  doctrine  of  predestination  by 
the  Calvinists.  The  sacred  values  that  have  been  most  cherished,  the 
ecstatic  and  visionary  capacities  of  shamans,  sorcerers,  ascetics,  and  pneu- 
matics of  all  sorts,  could  not  be  attained  by  everyone.  The  possession  of 
such  faculties  is  a  'charisma,'  which,  to  be  sure,  might  be  awakened  in  ^ 
some  but  not  in  all.  It  follows  from  this  that  all  intensive  religiosity  has  a  • 
tendency  toward  a  sort  of  status  stratification,  in  accordance  with  differ- 
ences in  the  charismatic  qualifications.  'Heroic'  or  'virtuoso'  religiosity  ^ 
is  opposed  to  mass  religiosity.  By  'mass'  we  understand  those  who  are 
religiously  'unmusical';  we  do  not,  of  course,  mean  those  who  occupy 
an  inferior  position  in  the  secular  status  order.  In  this  sense,  the  status 
carriers  of  a  virtuoso  religion  have  been  the  leagues  of  sorcerers  and 
sacred  dancers;  the  religious  status  group  of  the  Indian  Sramana  and  of 
the  early  Christian  'ascetics,'  who  were  expressly  recognized  in  the  con- 
gregation as  a  special  'estate';  the  Paulinian,  and  still  more  the  Gnostic, 
'pneumatics,'  the  pietist  ecclesiola;  all  genuine  'sects' — that  is,  sociolog- 


ically  speaking,  associations  that  accept  oniy  religiously  qualified  persons 
in  their  midst;  and  finally,  monk  communities  all  over  the  world.    ■ 

Now,  every  hierocratic  and  official  authority  of  a  'church' — that  is,  a 
community  organized  by  officials  into  an  institution  which  bestows  gifts 
of  grace — fights  principally  against  all  virtuoso-religion  and  against  its 
autonomous  development.  For  the  church,  being  the  holder  of  institu- 
tionalized grace,  seeks  to  organize  the  reHgiosity  of  the  masses  and  to 
put  its  own  officially  monopolized  and  mediated  sacred  values  in  the 
place  of  the  autonomous  and  religious  status  qualifications  of  the  reli- 
gious virtuosos.  By  its  nature,  that  is,  according  to  the  interest-situation  of 
its  officeholders,  the  church  must  be  'democratic'  in  the  sense  of  making 
the  sacred  values  generally  accessible.  This  means  that  the  church  stands 
for  a  universalism  of  grace  and  for  the  ethical  sufficiency  of  all  those 
who  are  enrolled  under  its  institutional  authority.  Sociologically,  the 
process  of  leveling  constitutes  a  complete  parallel  with  the  political 
struggles  of  the  bureaucracy  against  the  political  privileges  of  the  aristo- 
cratic estates.  As  with  hierocracy,  every  full-grown  political  bureaucracy 
is  necessarily  and  in  a  quite  similar  sense  'democratic' — namely,  in  the 
sense  of  leveling  and  of  fighting  against  status  privileges  that  compete 
with  its  power. 

The  most  varied  compromises  have  resulted  from  this  struggle  be- 
tween officialdoms  and  the  virtuosos.  These  struggles  have  not  always 
been  official  but  they  have  always  existed  at  least  covertly.  Thus,  the 
religiosity  of  the  Ulema '^  stood  against  the  religiosity  of  the  Dervishes; 
the  early  Christian  bishops  against  the  pneumatics  and  heroist  sectaries  as 
well  as  against  the  power  of  The  Key  of  asceticist  charisma;  the  Lutheran 
preacher's  office  and  the  Anglican  and  priestly  church  stood  against 
asceticism  in  general;  the  Russian  state  church  was  opposed  to  the  sects; 
and  the  official  management  of  the  Confucian  cult  stood  against 
Buddhist,  Taoist,  and  sectarian  pursuits  of  salvation  of  all  sorts.  The 
religious  virtuosos  saw  themselves  compelled  to  adjust  their  demands  to 
the  possibilities  of  the  religiosity  of  everyday  life  in  order  to  gain  and  to 
maintain  ideal  and  material  mass-patronage.  The  nature  of  their  con- 
cessions have  naturally  been  of  primary  significance  for  the  way  in 
which  they  have  religiously  influenced  everyday  life.  In  almost  all 
Oriental  religions,  the  virtuosos  allowed  the  masses  to  remain  stuck  in 
magical  tradition.  Thus,  the  influence  of  religious  virtuosos  has  been  infi- 
nitely smaller  than  was  the  case  where  religion  has  undertaken  ethically 
and  generally  to  rationalize  everyday  life.  This  has  been  the  case  even 


when  religion  has  aimed  precisely  at  the  masses  and  has  cancelled  how- 
ever many  of  its  ideal  demands.  Besides  the  relations  between  the  relig- 
iosity of  the  virtuosos  and  the  religion  of  the  masses,  which  finally  re- 
sulted from  this  struggle,  the  peculiar  nature  of  the  concrete  religiosity 
of  the  virtuosos  has  been  of  decisive  importance  for  the  development  of 
the  way  of  life  of  the  masses.  This  virtuoso  religiosity  has  therefore  also 
been  important  for  the  economic  ethic  of  the  respective  religion.  The 
religion  of  the  virtuoso  has  been  the  genuinely  'exemplary'  and  practical 
religion.  According  to  the  way  of  life  his  religion  prescribed  to  the  vir- 
tuoso, there  have  been  various  possibilities  of  establishing  a  rational 
ethic  of  everyday  life.  The  relation  of  virtuoso  religion  to  workaday  life 
in  the  locus  of  the  economy  has  varied,  especially  according  to  the  pe- 
culiarity of  the  sacred  values  desired  by  such  religions. 

Wherever  the  sacred  values  and  the  redemptory  means  of  a  virtuoso 
religion  bore  a  contemplative  or  orgiastic-ecstatic  character,  there  has 
been  no  bridge  between  religion  and  the  practical  action  of  the  workaday 
world.  In  such  cases,  the  economy  and  all  other  action  in  the  world 
has  been  considered  religiously  inferior,  and  no  psychological  motives 
for  worldly  action  could  be  derived  from  the  attitude  cherished  as  the 
supreme  value.  In  their  innermost  beings,  contemplative  and  ecstatic 
religions  have  been  rather  specifically  hostile  to  economic  life.  Mystic, 
orgiastic,  and  ecstatic  experiences  are  extraordinary  psychic  states;  they 
lead  away  from  everyday  life  and  from  all  expedient  conduct.  Such  ex- 
periences are,  therefore,  deemed  to  be  'holy.'  With  such  religions,  a  deep 
abyss  separates  the  way  of  life  of  the  laymen  from  that  of  the  com- 
munity of  virtuosos.  The  rule  of  the  status  groups  of  religious  virtuosos 
over  the  religious  community  readily  shifts  into  a  magical  anthropolatry ; 
the  virtuoso  is  directly  worshipped  as  a  Saint,  or  at  least  laymen  buy 
his  blessing  and  his  magical  powers  as  a  means  of  promoting  mun- 
dane success  or  religious  salvation.  As  the  peasant  was  to  the  landlord, 
so  the  layman  was  to  the  Buddhist  and  Jainist  bhikshu:^  ultimately, 
mere  sources  of  tribute.  Such  tribute  allowed  the  virtuosos  to  live  entirely 
for  religious  salvation  without  themselves  performing  profane  work, 
which  always  would  endanger  their  salvation.  Yet  the  conduct  of  the 
layman  could  still  undergo  a  certain  ethical  regulation,  for  the  virtuoso 
was  the  layman's  spiritual  adviser,  his  father  confessor  and  directeur  de 
I'dme.  Hence,  the  virtuoso  frequently  exercises  a  powerful  influence  over 
the  religiously  'unmusical'  laymen;  this  influence  might  not  be  in  the 
direction  of  his  (the  virtuoso's)  own  religious  way  of  life;  it  might  be 


an  influence  in  merely  ceremonious,  ritualist,  and  conventional  partic- 
ulars. For  action  in  this  world  remained  in  principle  religiously  insignifi- 
cant; and  compared  with  the  desire  for  the  religious  end,  action  lay  in 
the  very  opposite  direction. 

In  the  end,  the  charisma  of  the  pure  'mystic'  serves  only  himself.  The 
charisma  of  the  genuine  magician  serves  others. 

Things  have  been  quite  different  where  the  religiously  qualified  vir- 
tuosos have  combined  into  an  ascetic  sect,  striving  to  mould  life  in  this 
world  according  to  the  will  of  a  god.  To  be  sure,  two  things  were  neces- 
sary before  this  could  happen  in  a  genuine  way.  First,  the  supreme  and 
sacred  value  must  not  be  of  a  contemplative  nature;  it  must  not  consist 
of  a  union  with  a  supra-mundane  being  who,  in  contrast  to  the  world, 
lasts  forever;  nor  in  a  iinia  mystica  to  be  grasped  orgiastically  or  apa- 
thetic-ecstatically.  For  these  ways  always  lie  apart  from  everyday  life  and 
beyond  the  real  world  and  lead  away  from  it.  Second,  such  a  religion 
must,  so  far  as  possible,  have  given  up  the  purely  magical  or  sacra- 
mental character  of  the  means  of  grace.  For  these  means  always  devalue 
action  in  this  world  as,  at  best,  merely  relative  in  their  religious  signifi- 
cance, and  they  link  the  decision  about  salvation  to  the  success  of  proc- 
esses which  are  not  of  a  rational  everyday  nature. 

When  religious  virtuosos  have  combined  into  an  active  asceticist  sect, 
two  aims  are  completely  attained:  the  disenchantment  of  the  world  and 
the  blockage  of  the  path  to  salvation  by  a  flight  from  the  world.  The 
path  to  salvation  is  turned  away  from  a  contemplative  'flight  from  the 
world'  and  towards  an  active  ascetic  'work  in  this  world.'  If  one  disre- 
gards the  small  rationalist  sects,  such  as  are  found  all  over  the  world, 
this  has  been  attained  only  in  the  great  church  and  sect  organizations  of 
Occidental  and  asceticist  Protestantism.  The  quite  distinct  and  the 
purely  historically  determined  destinies  of  Occidental  religions  have 
co-operated  in  this  matter.  Partly,  the  social  environment  exerted  an 
influence,  above  all,  the  environment  of  the  stratum  that  was  decisive 
for  the  development  of  such  religion.  Partly,  however — and  just  as 
strongly — the  intrinsic  character  of  Christianity  exerted  an  influence: 
the  supra-mundane  God  and  the  specificity  of  the  means  and  paths  of 
salvation  as  determined  historically,  first  by  Israelite  prophecy  and  the 
thora  doctrine.^ 

The  religious  virtuoso  can  be  placed  in  the  world  as  the  instrument 
of  a  God  and  cut  off  from  all  magical  means  of  salvation.  At  the  same 
time,  it  is  imperative  for  the  virtuoso  that  he  'prove'  himself  before  God, 


as  being  called  solely  through  the  ethical  quality  of  his  conduct  in  this 
world.  This  actually  means  that  he  'prove'  himself  to  himself  as  well. 
No  matter  how  much  the  'world'  as  such  is  religiously  devalued  and 
rejected  as  being  creatural  and  a  vessel  of  sin,  yet  psychologically  the 
world  is  all  the  more  affirmed  as  the  theatre  of  God-willed  activity  in 
one's  worldly  'calling.'  For  this  inner-worldly  asceticism  rejects  the 
world  in  the  sense  that  it  despises  and  taboos  the  values  of  dignity  and 
beauty,  of  the  beautiful  frenzy  and  the  dream,  purely  secular  power, 
and  the  purely  worldly  pride  of  the  hero.  Asceticism  outlawed  these 
values  as  competitors  of  the  kingdom  of  God.  Yet  precisely  because  of 
this  rejection,  asceticism  did  not  fly  from  the  world,  as  did  contempla- 
tion. Instead,  asceticism  has  wished  to  rationalize  the  world  ethically  in 
accordance  with  God's  commandments.  It  has  therefore  remained 
oriented  towards  the  world  in  a  more  specific  and  thoroughgoing  sense 
than  did  the  naive  'affirmation  of  the  world'  of  unbroken  humanity,  for 
instance,  in  Antiquity  and  in  lay-Catholicism.  In  inner-worldly  asceti- 
cism, the  grace  and  the  chosen  state  of  the  religiously  qualified  man 
prove  themselves  in  everyday  life.  To  be  sure,  they  do  so  not  in  the 
everyday  life  as  it  is  given,  but  in  methodical  and  rationalized  routine- 
activities  of  workaday  life  in  the  service  of  the  Lord.  Rationally  raised  into 
a  vocation,  everyday  conduct  becomes  the  locus  for  proving  one's  state  of 
grace.  The  Occidental  sects  of  the  religious  virtuosos  have  fermented  the 
methodical  rationalization  of  conduct,  including  economic  conduct. 
These  sects  have  not  constituted  valves  for  the  longing  to  escape  from 
the  senselessness  of  work  in  this  world,  as  did  the  Asiatic  communities 
of  the  ecstatics:  contemplative,  orgiastic,  or  apathetic. 

The  most  varied  transitions  and  combinations  are  found  between  the 
polar  opposites  of  'exemplary'  and  'emissary'  prophecy.  Neither  reli- 
gions nor  men  are  open  books.  They  have  been  historical  rather  than 
logical  or  even  psychological  constructions  without  contradiction.  Often 
they  have  borne  within  themselves  a  series  of  motives,  each  of  which,  if 
separately  and  consistently  followed  through,  would  have  stood  in  the 
way  of  the  others  or  run  against  them  head-on.  In  religious  matters 
'consistency'  has  been  the  exception  and  not  the  rule.  The  ways  and 
means  of  salvation  are  also  psychologically  ambiguous.  The  search  for 
God  of  the  early  Christian  monk  as  well  as  of  the  Quaker  contained 
very  strong  contemplative  elements.  Yet  the  total  content  of  their  re- 
ligions and,  above  all,  their  supra-mundane  God  of  creation  and  their 
way  of  making  sure  of  their  states  of  grace  again  and  again  directed 


them  to  the  course  of  action.  On  the  other  hand,  the  Buddhist  monk  was 
also  active,  but  his  activities  were  withdrawn  from  any  consistent  ration- 
ahzation  in  this  world;  his  quest  for  salvation  was  ultimately  oriented 
to  the  flight  from  the  'wheel'  of  the  rebirths.  The  sectarians  and  other 
brotherhoods  of  the  Occidental  Middle  Ages  spearheaded  the  religious 
penetration  of  everyday  life.  They  found  their  counter-image  in  the 
brotherhoods  of  Islam,  which  were  even  more  widely  developed.  The 
stratum  typical  of  such  brotherhoods  in  the  Occident  and  in  Islam  were 
identical:  petty  bourgeois  and  especially  artisans.  Yet  the  spirit  of  their 
respective  religions  were  very  different.  Viewed  externally,  numerous 
Hinduist  religious  communities  appear  to  be  'sects'  just  as  do  those  of 
the  Occident.  The  sacred  value,  however,  and  the  manner  in  which 
values  were  mediated  pointed  in  radically  different  directions. 

We  shall  not  accumulate  more  examples  here,  as  we  wish  to  consider 
the  great  religions  separately.  In  no  r'^spect  can  one  simply  integrate 
various  world  religions  into  a  chain  of  types,  each  of  them  signifying  a 
new  'stage.'  All  the  great  religions  are  historical  individualities  of  a 
highly  complex  nature;  taken  all  together,  they  exhaust  only  a  few  of 
the  possible  combinations  that  could  conceivably  be  formed  from  the 
the  very  numerous  individual  factors  to  be  considered  in  such  historical 

Thus,  the  following  presentations  do  not  in  any  way  constitute  a 
systematic  'typology'  of  religion.  On  the  other  hand,  they  do  not  consti- 
tute a  purely  historical  work.  They  are  'typological'  in  the  sense  that  they 
consider  what  is  typically  important  in  the  historical  realizations  of  the 
religious  ethics.  This  is  important  for  the  connection  of  religions  with 
the  great  contrasts  of  the  economic  mentalities.  Other  aspects  will  be 
neglected;  these  presentations  do  not  claim  to  offer  a  well-rounded  pic- 
ture of  world  religions.  Those  features  peculiar  to  the  individual  re- 
ligions, in  contrast  to  other  religions,  but  which  at  the  same  time  are 
important  for  our  interest,  must  be  brought  out  strongly.  A  presentation 
that  disregards  these  special  accents  of  importance  would  often  have  to 
tone  down  the  special  features  in  which  we  are  interested.  Such  a  bal- 
anced presentation  would  almost  always  have  to  add  other  features  and 
occasionally  would  have  to  give  greater  emphasis  to  the  fact  that,  of 
course,  all  qualitative  contrasts  in  reality,  in  the  last  resort,  can  somehow 
be  comprehended  as  purely  quantitative  differences  in  the  combinations 
of  single  factors.  However,  it  would  be  extremely  unfruitful  to  emphasize 
and  repeat  here  what  goes  without  saying. 


The  features  of  religions  that  are  important  for  economic  ethics  shall 
interest  us  primarily  from  a  definite  point  of  view:  we  shall  be  interested 
in  the  way  in  which  they  are  related  to  economic  rationalism.  More  pre-  j 
cisely,  we  mean  the  economic  rationalism  of  the  type  which,  since  the  ' 
sixteenth  and  seventeenth  centuries,  has  come  to  dominate  the  Occident 
as  part  of  the  particular  rationalization  of  civic  life,  and  which  has 
become  familiar  in  this  part  of  the  world. 

We  have  to  remind  ourselves  in  advance  that  'rationalism'  may  mean 
very  different  things.  It  means  one  thing  if  we  think  of  the  kind  of 
rationahzation  the  systematic  thinker  performs  on  the  image  of  the 
world:  an  increasing  theoretical  mastery  of  reality  by  means  of  increas- 
ingly precise  and  abstract  concepts.  Rationalism  means  another  thing  if 
we  think  of  the  methodical  attainment  of  a  definitely  given  and  practical 
end  by  means  of  an  increasingly  precise  calculation  of  adequate  means. 
These  types  of  rationaUsm  are  very  different,  in  spite  of  the  fact  that 
ultimately  they  belong  inseparately  together.  Similar  types  may  be  dis- 
tinguished even  within  the  intellectual  comprehension  of  reality;  for 
instance,  the  differences  between  English  Physics  and  Continental  Physics 
has  been  traced  back  to  such  a  type  difference  within  the  comprehension 
of  reality.  The  rationalization  of  life  conduct  with  which  we  have  to 
deal  here  can  assume  unusually  varied  forms. 

In  the  sense  of  the  absence  of  all  metaphysics  and  almost  all  residues 
of  religious  anchorage,  Confucianism  is  rationalist  to  such  a  far-going 
extent  that  it  stands  at  the  extreme  boundary  of  what  one  might  possibly 
call  a  'religious'  ethic.  At  the  same  time,  Confucianism  is  more  rational- 
ist and  sober,  in  the  sense  of  the  absence  and  the  rejection  of  all  non- 
utilitarian  yardsticks,  than  any  other  ethical  system,  with  the  possible 
exception  of  J.  Bentham's.  Yet  Confucianism,  in  spite  of  constantly  actual 
and  apparent  analogies,  nevertheless  differs  extraordinarily  from  Ben- 
tham's as  well  as  from  all  other  Occidental  types  of  practical  rationalism. 
The  supreme  artistic  ideal  of  the  Renaissance  was  'rational'  in  the  sense 
of  a  belief  in  a  valid  'canon,'  and  the  view  of  life  of  the  Renaissance  was 
rational  in  the  sense  of  rejecting  traditionalist  bonds  and  of  having  faith 
in  the  power  of  the  naturalis  ratio.  This  type  of  rationalism  prevailed  in 
spite  of  certain  elements  of  Platonizing  mysticism. 

'Rational'  may  also  mean  a  'systematic  arrangement.'  ^  In  this  sense, 
the  following  methods  are  rational:  methods  of  mortificatory  or  of 
magical  asceticism,  of  contemplation  in  its  most  consistent  forms — for 


instance,  in  yoga — or  in  the  manipulations  of  the  prayer  machines  of 
later  Buddhism. 

In  general,  all  kinds  of  practical  ethics  that  are  systematically  and 
unambiguously  oriented  to  fixed  goals  of  salvation  are  'rational,'  partly 
in  the  same  sense  as  formal  method  is  rational,  and  partly  in  the  sense 
that  they  distinguish  between  'valid'  norms  and  what  is  empirically 
given.  These  types  of  rationalization  processes  are  of  interest  to  us  in 
the  following  presentations.  It  would  be  senseless  to  try  to  anticipate  the 
typologies  of  these  presentations  here,  for  they  aim  to  make  a  contribu- 
tion to  such  typology. 

In  order  to  make  this  attempt,  the  author  must  take  the  liberty  of  being 
'unhistorical,'  in  the  sense  that  the  ethics  of  individual  religions  are  pre- 
sented systematically  and  essentially  in  greater  unity  than  has  ever  been 
the  case  in  the  flux  of  their  actual  development.  Rich  contrasts  which 
have  been  alive  in  individual  religions,  as  well  as  incipient  developments 
and  ramifications,  must  be  left  aside;  and  the  features  that  to  the  author 
are  important  must  often  be  presented  in  greater  logical  consistency  and 
less  historical  development  than  was  actually  the  case.  If  it  were  done 
arbitrarily,  this  simplification  would  be  a  historical  'falsification.'  This, 
however,  is  not  the  case,  at  least  not  intentionally.  The  author  has  always 
underscored  those  features  in  the  total  picture  of  a  religion  which  have 
been  decisive  for  the  fashioning  of  the  practical  way  of  life,  as  well  as 
those  which  distinguish  one  religion  from  another.^** 

Finally,  before  going  into  the  subject  matter,  some  remarks  by  way  of 
explaining  terminological  pecuHarities  which  frequently  recur  in  the 
presentation  may  be  advanced.^^ 

When  fully  developed,  religious  associations  and  communities  belong 
to  a  type  of  corporate  authority.  They  represent  'hierocratic'  associations, 
that  is,  their  power  to  rule  is  supported  by  their  monopoly  in  the  bestowal 
or  denial  of  sacred  values. 

All  ruling  powers,  profane  and  religious,  political  and  apolitical,  may 
be  considered  as  variations  of,  or  approximations  to,  certain  pure  types. 
These  types  are  constructed  by  searching  for  the  basis  of  legitimacy, 
which  the  ruling  power  claims.  Our  modern  'associations,'  above  all  the 
political  ones,  are  of  the  type  of  'legal'  authority.  That  is,  the  legitimacy 
of  the  power-holder  to  give  commands  rests  upon  rules  that  are  rationally 
established  by  enactment,  by  agreement,  or  by  imposition.  The  legitima- 
tion for  establishing  these  rules  rests,  in  turn,  upon  a  rationally  enacted 
or  interpreted  'constitution.'  Orders  are  given  in  the  name  of  the  imper- 


sonal  norm,  rather  than  in  the  name  of  a  personal  authority;  and  even 
the  giving  of  a  command  constitutes  obedience  toward  a  norm  rather 
than  an  arbitrary  freedom,  favor,  or  privilege. 

The  'official'  is  the  holder  of  the  power  to  command;  he  never  exer- 
cises this  power  in  his  own  right;  he  holds  it  as  a  trustee  of  the  imper- 
sonal and  'compulsory  institution.'  ^-  This  institution  is  made  up  of  the 
specific  patterns  of  life  of  a  plurality  of  men,  definite  or  indefinite,  yet 
specified  according  to  rules.  Their  joint  pattern  of  life  is  normatively  gov- 
erned by  statutory  regulations. 

The  'area  of  jurisdiction'  is  a  functionally  delimited  realm  of  possible 
objects  for  command  and  thus  delimits  the  sphere  of  the  official's  legiti- 
mate power.  A  hierarchy  of  superiors,  to  which  officials  may  appeal  and 
complain  in  an  order  of  rank,  stands  opposite  the  citizen  or  member  of 
the  association.  Today  this  situation  also  holds  for  the  hierocratic  associa- 
tion that  is  the  church.  The  pastor  or  priest  has  his  definitely  limited 
'jurisdiction,'  which  is  fixed  by  rules.  This  also  holds  for  the  supreme 
head  of  the  church.  The  present  concept  of  [papal]  'infallibility'  is  a 
jurisdictional  concept.  Its  inner  meaning  differs  from  that  which  pre- 
ceded it,  even  up  to  the  time  of  Innocent  III. 

The  separation  of  the  'private  sphere'  from  the  'official  sphere'  (in  the 
case  of  infallibility:  the  ex  cathedra  definition)  is  carried  through  in  the 
church  in  the  same  way  as  in  political,  or  other,  officialdoms.  The  legal 
separation  of  the  official  from  the  means  of  administration  (either  in 
natural  or  in  pecuniary  form)  is  carried  through  in  the  sphere  of  political 
and  hierocratic  associations  in  the  same  way  as  is  the  separation  of  the 
worker  from  the  means  of  production  in  capitalist  economy:  it  runs 
fully  parallel  to  them. 

No  matter  how  many  beginnings  may  be  found  in  the  remote  past,  in 
its  full  development  all  this  is  specifically  modern.  The  past  has  known 
other  bases  for  authority,  bases  which,  incidentally,  extend  as  survivals 
into  the  present.  Here  we  wish  merely  to  outline  these  bases  of  authority 
in  a  terminological  way. 

A  I.  In  the  following  discussions  the  term  'charisma^  shall  be  understood 
to  refer  to  an  extraordinary  quality  of  a  person,  regardless  of  whether  this 
quality  is  actual,  alleged,  or  presumed.  'Charismatic  authority,'  hence, 
shall  refer  to  a  rule  over  men,  whether  predominantly  external  or  pre- 
dominantly internal,  to  which  the  governed  submit  because  of  their 
belief  in  the  extraordinary  quality  of  the  specific  person.  The  magical 


sorcerer,  the  prophet,  the  leader  of  hunting  and  booty  expeditions,  the 
warrior  chieftain,  the  so-called  'Caesarist'  ruler,  and,  under  certain  con- 
ditions, the  personal  head  of  a  party  are  such  types  of  rulers  for  their 
disciples,  followings,  enlisted  troops,  parties,  et  cetera.  The  legitimacy  of 
their  rule  rests  on  the  belief  in  and  the  devotion  to  the  extraordinary, 
which  is  valued  because  it  goes  beyond  the  normal  human  qualities,  and 
which  was  originally  valued  as  supernatural.  The  legitimacy  of  charis- 
matic rule  thus  rests  upon  the  belief  in  magical  powers,  revelations  and 
hero  worship.  The  source  of  these  beliefs  is  the  'proving'  of  the  charismatic 
quality  through  miracles,  through  victories  and  other  successes,  that  is, 
through  the  welfare  of  the  governed.  Such  beliefs  and  the  claimed  au- 
thority resting  on  them  therefore  disappear,  or  threaten  to  disappear,  as 
soon  as  proof  is  lacking  and  as  soon  as  the  charismatically  qualified  person 
appears  to  be  devoid  of  his  magical  power  or  forsaken  by  his  god.  Charis- 
matic rule  is  not  managed  according  to  general  norms,  either  traditional 
or  rational,  but,  in  principle,  according  to  concrete  revelations  and  in- 
spirations, and  in  this  sense,  charismatic  authority  is  'irrational.'  It  is 
'revolutionary'  in  the  sense  of  not  being  bound  to  the  existing  order: 
'It  is  written — but  I  say  unto  you  .  .  .  !' 

2.  'Traditionalism'  in  the  following  discussions  shall  refer  to  the  psychic 
attitude-set  for  the  habitual  workaday  and  to  the  belief  in  the  everyday 
routine  as  an  inviolable  norm  of  conduct.  Domination  that  rests  upon 
this  basis,  that  is,  upon  piety  for  what  actually,  allegedly,  or  presumably 
has  always  existed,  will  be  called  'traditionalist  authority.' 

Patriarchahsm  is  by  far  the  most  important  type  of  domination  the 
legitimacy  of  which  rests  upon  tradition.  Patriarchalism  means  the  au- 
thority of  the  father,  the  husband,  the  senior  of  the  house,  the  sib  elder 
over  the  members  of  the  household  and  sib;  the  rule  of  the  master  and 
patron  over  bondsmen,  serfs,  freed  men;  of  the  lord  over  the  domestic 
servants  and  household  officials;  of  the  prince  over  house-  and  court- 
officials,  nobles  of  office,  cHents,  vassals;  of  the  patrimonial  lord  and 
sovereign  prince  {Landesvater)  over  the  'subjects.' 

It  is  characteristic  of  patriarchical  and  of  patrimonial  authority,  which 
represents  a  variety  of  the  former,  that  the  system  of  inviolable  norms 
is  considered  sacred;  an  infraction  of  them  would  result  in  magical  or 
religious  evils.  Side  by  side  with  this  system  there  is  a  realm  of  free 
arbitrariness  and  favor  of  the  lord,  who  in  principle  judges  only  in  terms 
of  'personal,'  not  'functional,'  relations.  In  this  sense,  traditionalist  au- 
thority is  irrational. 


3.  Throughout  early  history,  charismatic  authority,  which  rests  upon  a 
behef  in  the  sanctity  or  the  value  of  the  extraordinary,  and  traditionalist 
(patriarchical)  domination,  which  rests  upon  a  belief  in  the  sanctity  of 
everyday  routines,  divided  the  most  important  authoritative  relations 
between  them.  The  bearers  of  charisma,  the  oracles  of  prophets,  or  the 
edicts  of  charismatic  war  lords  alone  could  integrate  'new'  laws  into  the 
circle  of  what  was  upheld  by  tradition.  Just  as  revelation  and  the  sword 
were  the  two  extraordinary  powers,  so  were  they  the  two  typical  inno- 
vators. In  typical  fashion,  however,  both  succumbed  to  routinization  as 
soon  as  their  work  was  done. 

With  the  death  of  the  prophet  or  the  war  lord  the  question  of  suc- 
cessorship  arises.  This  question  can  be  solved  by  Kurung,  which  was 
originally  not  an  'election'  but  a  selection  in  terms  of  charismatic  quali- 
fication; or  the  question  can  be  solved  by  the  sacramental  substantiation 
of  charisma,  the  successor  being  designated  by  consecration,  as  is  the  case 
in  hierocratic  or  apostolic  succession;  or  the  belief  in  the  charismatic 
qualification  of  the  charismatic  leader's  sib  can  lead  to  a  belief  in  heredi- 
tary charisma,  as  represented  by  hereditary  kingship  and  hereditary 
hierocracy.  With  these  routinizations,  rules  in  some  form  always  come 
to  govern.  The  prince  or  the  hierocrat  no  longer  rules  by  virtue  of 
purely  personal  qualities,  but  by  virtue  of  acquired  or  inherited  qualities, 
or  because  he  has  been  legitimized  by  an  act  of  charismatic  election.  The 
process  of  routinization,  and  thus  traditionalization,  has  set  in. 

Perhaps  it  is  even  more  important  that  when  the  organization  of 
authority  becomes  permanent,  the  staff  supporting  the  charismatic  ruler 
becomes  routinized.  The  ruler's  disciples,  apostles,  and  followers  became 
priests,  feudal  vassals  and,  above  all,  officials.  The  original  charismatic 
community  lived  communistically  off  donations,  alms,  and  the  booty  of 
war:  they  were  thus  specifically  alienated  from  the  economic  order.  The 
community  was  transformed  into  a  stratum  of  aids  to  the  ruler  and 
depended  upon  him  for  maintenance  through  the  usufruct  of  land,  office 
fees,  income  in  kind,  salaries,  and  hence,  through  prebends.  The  staff 
derived  its  legitimate  power  in  greatly  varying  stages  of  appropriation, 
infeudation,  conferment,  and  appointment.  As  a  rule,  this  meant  that 
princely  prerogatives  became  patrimonial  in  nature.  Patrimonialism  can 
also  develop  from  pure  patriarchalism  through  the  disintegration  of  the 
patriarchical  master's  strict  authority.  By  virtue  of  conferment,  the  preb- 
endary or  the  vassal  has  as  a  rule  had  a  personal  right  to  the  office  be- 
stowed upon  him.  Like  the  artisan  who  possessed  the  economic  means  of 



production,  the  prebendary  possessed  the  means  of  administration.  He  had 
to  bear  the  costs  of  administration  out  of  his  office  fees  or  other  income, 
or  he  passed  on  to  the  lord  only  part  of  the  taxes  gathered  from  the 
subjects,  retaining  the  rest.  In  the  extreme  case  he  could  bequeath  and 
alienate  his  office  like  other  possession.  We  wish  to  speak  of  status  patri- 
monialism  when  the  development  by  appropriation  of  prerogatory  power 
has  reached  this  stage,  without  regard  to  whether  it  developed  from 
charismatic  or  patriarchical  beginnings. 

The  development,  however,  has  seldom  stopped  at  this  stage.  We 
always  meet  with  a  struggle  between  the  political  or  hierocratic  lord  and 
the  owners  or  usurpers  of  prerogatives,  which  they  have  appropriated  as 
status  groups.  The  ruler  attempts  to  expropriate  the  estates,  and  the  es- 
tates attempt  to  expropriate  the  ruler.  The  more  the  ruler  succeeds  in 
attaching  to  himself  a  staff  of  officials  who  depend  solely  on  himi  and 
whose  interests  are  linked  to  his,  the  more  this  struggle  is  decided  in 
favor  of  the  ruler  and  the  more  the  privilege-holding  estates  are  grad- 
ually expropriated.  In  this  connection,  the  prince  acquires  administrative 
means  of  his  own  and  he  keeps  them  firmly  in  his  own  hands.  Thus  we 
find  political  rulers  in  the  Occident,  and  progressively  from  Innocent  III 
to  Johann  XXII,  also  hierocratic  rulers  who  have  finances  of  their  own, 
as  well  as  secular  rulers  who  have  magazines  and  arsenals  of  their  own 
for  the  provisioning  of  the  army  and  the  officials. 

The  character  of  the  stratum  of  officials  upon  whose  support  the  ruler 
has  relied  in  the  struggle  for  the  expropriation  of  status  prerogatives  has 
varied  greatly  in  history.  In  Asia  and  in  the  Occident  during  the  early 
Middle  Ages  they  were  typically  clerics;  during  the  Oriental  Middle 
Ages  they  were  typically  slaves  and  clients;  for  the  Roman  Principate, 
freed  slaves  to  a  limited  extent  were  typical;  humanist  literati  were 
typical  for  China;  and  finally,  jurists  have  been  typical  for  the  modern 
Occident,  in  ecclesiastical  as  well  as  in  political  associations. 

The  triumph  of  princely  power  and  the  expropriation  of  particular 
prerogatives  has  everywhere  signified  at  least  the  possibility,  and  often 
the  actual  introduction,  of  a  rational  administration.  As  we  shall  see, 
however,  this  rationalization  has  varied  greatly  in  extent  and  meaning. 
One  must,  above  all,  distinguish  between  the  substantive  rationaHzation 
of  administration  and  of  judiciary  by  a  patrimonial  prince,  and  the  formal 
rationalization  carried  out  by  trained  jurists.  The  former  bestows  utili- 
tarian and  social  ethical  blessings  upon  his  subjects,  in  the  manner  of 
the  master  of  a  large  house  upon  the  members  of  his  household.  The 


trained  jurists  have  carried  out  the  rule  of  general  laws  applying  to  all 
'citizens  of  the  state.'  However  fluid  the  difference  has  been— for  instance, 
in  Babylon  or  Byzantium,  in  the  Sicily  of  the  Hohenstaufen,  or  the 
England  of  the  Stuarts,  or  the  France  of  the  Bourbons— in  the  final 
analysis,  the  difference  between  substantive  and  formal  rationality  has 
persisted.  And,  in  the  main,  it  has  been  the  work  of  jurists  to  give  birth 
to  the  modern  Occidental  'state'  as  well  as  to  the  Occidental  'churches.' 
We  shall  not  discuss  at  this  point  the  source  of  their  strength,  the  sub- 
stantive ideas,  and  the  technical  means  for  this  work. 

With  the  triumph  of  formalist  juristic  rationalism,  the  legal  type  of 
domination  appeared  in  the  Occident  at  the  side  of  the  transmitted  types 
of  domination.  Bureaucratic  rule  was  not  and  is  not  the  only  variety  of 
legal  authority,  but  it  is  the  purest.  The  modern  state  and  municipal 
official,  the  modern  Catholic  priest  and  chaplain,  the  officials  and  em- 
ployees of  modern  banks  and  of  large  capitalist  enterprises  represent,  as 
we  have  already  mentioned,  the  most  important  types  of  this  structure 
of  domination. 

The  following  characteristic  must  be  considered  decisive  for  our  ter- 
minology: in  legal  authority,  submission  does  not  rest  upon  the  belief 
and  devotion  to  charismatically  gifted  persons,  like  prophets  and  heroes, 
or  upon  sacred  tradition,  or  upon  piety  toward  a  personal  lord  and  master 
who  is  defined  by  an  ordered  tradition,  or  upon  piety  toward  the  possible 
incumbents  of  office  fiefs  and  office  prebends  who  are  legitimized  in  their 
own  right  through  privilege  and  conferment.  Rather,  submission  under 
legal  authority  is  based  upon  an  impersonal  bond  to  the  generally  defined 
and  functional  'duty  of  office.'  The  official  duty — like  the  corresponding 
right  to  exercise  authority:  the  'jurisdictional  competency' — is  fixed  by 
rationally  established  norms,  by  enactments,  decrees,  and  regulations,  in 
such  a  manner  that  the  legitimacy  of  the  authority  becomes  the  legality 
of  the  general  rule,  which  is  purposely  thought  out,  enacted,  and  an- 
nounced with  formal  correctness. 

The  differences  between  the  types  of  authority  we  have  sketched  per- 
tain to  all  particulars  of  their  social  structure  and  of  their  economic 
significance.  Only  a  systematic  presentation  could  demonstrate  how  far 
the  distinctions  and  terminology  chosen  here  are  expedient.  Here  we 
may  emphasize  merely  that  by  approaching  in  this  way,  we  do  not  claim 
to  use  the  only  possible  approach  nor  do  we  claim  that  all  empirical 
structures  of  domination  must  correspond  to  one  of  these  'pure'  types. 
On  the  contrary,  the  great  majority  of  empirical  cases  represent  a  com- 


bination  or  a  state  of  transition  among  several  such  pure  types.  We 
shall  be  compelled  again  and  again  to  form  expressions  like  'patrimonial 
bureaucracy'  in  order  to  make  the  point  that  the  characteristic  traits  of 
the  respective  phenomenon  belong  in  part  to  the  rational  form  of  dom- 
ination, whereas  other  traits  belong  to  a  traditionalist  form  of  domination, 
in  this  case  to  that  of  estates.  We  also  recognize  highly  important  forms 
that  have  been  universally  diilused  throughout  history,  such  as  the 
feudal  structure  of  domination.  Important  aspects  of  these  structures, 
however,  cannot  be  classified  smoothly  under  any  one  of  the  three  forms 
we  have  distinguished.  They  can  be  understood  only  as  combinations 
involving  several  concepts,  in  this  case  the  concepts  of  'status  group' 
and  'status  honor.'  There  are  also  forms  that  have  to  be  understood  partly 
in  terms  of  principles  other  than  those  of  'domination,'  partly  in  terms 
of  peculiar  variations  of  the  concept  of  charisma.  Examples  are:  the  func- 
tionaries of  pure  democracy  with  rotations  of  honorific  offices  and  similar 
forms,  on  the  one  hand,  and  plebiscitarian  domination,  on  the  other 
hand,  or  certain  forms  of  notable  rule  that  are  special  forms  of  traditional 
domination.  Such  forms,  however,  have  certainly  belonged  to  the  most 
important  ferments  for  the  delivery  of  political  rationalism.  By  the 
terminology  suggested  here,  we  do  not  wish  to  force  schematically  the 
infinite  and  multifarious  historical  life,  but  simply  to  create  concepts 
useful  for  special  purposes  and  for  orientation. 
y  The  same  qualifications  hold  for  a  final  terminological  distinction. 
We  understand  by  'status'  situation  the  probability  of  certain  social 
groups'  receiving  positive  or  negative  social  honor.  The  chances  of  attain- 
ing social  honor  are  primarily  determined  by  differences  in  the  styles  of 
life  of  these  groups,  hence  chiefly  by  differences  of  education.  Referring 
to  the  preceding  terminology  of  forms  of  authority,  we  may  say  that, 
secondarily,  social  honor  very  frequently  and  typically  is  associated  with 
the  respective  stratum's  legally  guaranteed  and  monopolized  claim  to 
sovereign  rights  or  to  income  and  profit  opportunities  of  a  certain  kind. 
Thus,  if  all  these  characteristics  are  found,  which,  of  course,  is  not 
always  the  case,  a  'status  group'  is  a  group  societalized  through  its  special 
styles  of  life,  its  conventional  and  specific  notions  of  honor,  and  the 
economic  opportunities  it  legally  monopolizes.  A  status  group  is  always 
somehow  societalized,  but  it  is  not  always  organized  into  an  association. 
Commercium,  in  the  sense  of  'social  intercourse,'  and  connubiuin  among 
groups  are  the  typical  characteristics  of  the  mutual  esteem  among  status 
equals;  their  absence  signifies  status  difTerences. 



By  'class  situation,'  in  contrast,  we  shall  understand  the  opportunities 
to  gain  sustenance  and  income  that  are  primarily  determined  by  typical, 
economically  relevant,  situations;  property  of  a  certain  kind,  or  acquired 
skill  in  the  execution  of  services  that  are  in  demand,  is  decisive  for 
income  opportunities.  'Class  situation'  also  comprises  the  ensuing  gen- 
eral and  typical  living  conditions,  for  instance,  the  necessity  of  complying 
with  the  discipline  of  a  capitalist  proprietor's  workshop. 

A  'status  situation'  can  be  the  cause  as  well  as  the  result  of  a  'class 
situation,'  but  it  need  be  neither.  Class  situations,  in  turn,  can  be  pri- 
marily determined  by  markets,  by  the  labor  market  and  the  commodity 
market.  The  specific  and  typical  cases  of  class  situation  today)  are  ones 
determined  by  markets.  But  such  is  not  necessarily  the  case:  class  situa- 
tions of  landlord  and  small  peasant  may  depend  upon  market  relations 
only  in  a  negligible  way.  In  their  differing  situations,  the  various  cate- 
gories of  'rentiers'  depend  on  the  market  in  greatly  varying  senses  and 
extents,  according  to  whether  they  derive  their  rents  as  landlords,  slave- 
holders, or  as  owners  of  bonds  and  effects. 

One  must  therefore  distinguish  between  'propertied  classes'  and  pri- 
marily market-determined  'income  classes.'  Present-day  society  is  pre- 
dominantly stratified  in  classes,  and  to  an  especially  high  degree  in 
income  classes.  But  in  the  special  status  prestige  of  the  'educated'  strata, 
our  society  contains  a  very  tangible  element  of  stratification  by  status. 
Externally,  this  status  factor  is  most  obviously  represented  by  economic 
monopolies  and  the  preferential  social  opportunities  of  the  holders  of 

In  the  past  the  significance  of  stratification  by  status  was  far  more 
decisive,  above  all,  for  the  economic  structure  of  the  societies.  For,  on  the 
one  hand,  status  stratification  influences  the  economic  structure  by  bar- 
riers or  regulations  of  consumption,  and  by  status  monopolies  which 
from  the  point  of  view  of  economic  rationality  are  irrational,  and  on 
the  other  hand,  status  stratification  influences  the  economy  very  strongly 
through  the  bearing  of  the  status  conventions  of  the  respective  ruling 
strata  who  set  the  example.  These  conventions  may  be  in  the  nature  of 
ritualist  stereotyped  forms,  which  to  a  large  extent  has  been  the  case  / 
with  the  status  stratification  of  Asia. 

XII.  Tne  Protestant  Sects  and  tne  Opirit  ol 

For  some  time  in  the  United  States  a  principled  'separation  of  state  and 
church'  has  existed.  This  separation  is  carried  through  so  strictly  that 
there  is  not  even  an  official  census  o£  denominations,  for  it  would  be 
considered  against  the  law  for  the  state  even  to  ask  the  citizen  for  his 
denomination.  We  shall  not  here  discuss  the  practical  importance  of 
this  principle  of  the  relation  between  religious  organizations  and  the 
state.*  We  are  interested,  rather,  in  the  fact  that  scarcely  two  and  a  half 
decades  ago  the  number  of  'persons  without  church  affiliation'  in  the 
U.S.A.  was  estimated  to  be  only  about  6  per  cent;  ^  and  this  despite  the 
absence  of  all  those  highly  effective  premiums  which  most  of  the  Euro- 
pean states  then  placed  upon  affiliation  with  certain  privileged  churches 
and  despite  the  immense  immigration  to  the  U.S.A. 

It  should  be  realized,  in  addition,  that  church  affiliation  in  the  U.S.A. 
brings  with  it  incomparably  higher  financial  burdens,  especially  for  the 
poor,  than  anywhere  in  Germany.  Published  family  budgets  prove  this, 
and  I  have  personally  known  of  many  burdened  cases  in  a  congrega- 
tion in  a  city  on  Lake  Erie,  which  was  almost  entirely  composed  of 
German  immigrant  lumberjacks.  Their  regular  contributions  for  religious 
purposes  amounted  to  almost  |8o  annually,  being  paid  out  of  an  average 
annual  income  of  about  $i,ooo.  Everyone  knows  that  even  a  small  frac- 
tion of  this  financial  burden  in  Germany  would  lead  to  a  mass  exodus 
from  the  church.  But  quite  apart  from  that,  nobody  who  visited  the 
United  States  fifteen  or  twenty  years  ago,  that  is,  before  the  recent 
Europeanization  of  the  country  began,  could  overlook  the  very  intense 
church-mindedness  which  then  prevailed  in  all  regions  not  yet  flooded 

'Die  Protestantischen  Sekten  und  der  Geist  des  Kapitalismus,'  Gesammelte  Aufsaetze  zur 
Religionssoziologie,  vol.  i,  pp.  207-36. 

*  The  principle  is  often  only  dieoretical;  note  the  importance  of  the  Catholic  vote,  as 
well  as  subsidies  to  confessional  schools. 



by  European  immigrants.*  Every  old  travel  book  reveals  that  formerly 
church-mindedness  in  America  went  unquestioned,  as  compared  with 
recent  decades,  and  was  even  far  stronger.  Here  we  are  especially  inter- 
ested in  one  aspect  of  this  situation. 

Hardly  a  generation  ago  when  businessmen  were  establishing  them- 
selves and  making  new  social  contacts,  they  encountered  the  question: 
'To  what  church  do  you  belong?'  This  was  asked  unobtrusively  and  in 
a  manner  that  seemed  to  be  apropos,  but  evidently  it  was  never  asked 
accidentally.  Even  in  Brooklyn,  New  York's  twin  city,  this  older  tradi- 
tion was  retained  to  a  strong  degree,  and  the  more  so  in  communities 
less  exposed  to  the  influence  of  immigration.  This  question  reminds  one 
of  the  typical  Scotch  table  d'hote,  where  a  quarter  of  a  century  ago  the 
continental  European  on  Sundays  almost  always  had  to  face  the  situation 
of  a  lady's  asking,  'What  service  did  you  attend  today?'  Or,  if  the  Con- 
tinental, as  the  oldest  guest,  should  happen  to  be  seated  at  the  head  of 
the  table,  the  waiter  when  serving  the  soup  would  ask  him:  'Sir,  the 
prayer,  please.'  In  Portree  (Skye)  on  one  beautiful  Sunday  I  faced  this 
typical  question  and  did  not  know  any  better  way  out  than  to  remark: 
'I  am  a  member  of  the  Badische  Landes\irche  and  could  not  find  a 
chapel  of  my  church  in  Portree.'  The  ladies  were  pleased  and  satisfied 
with  the  answer.  'Oh,  he  doesn't  attend  any  service  except  that  of  his 
own  denomination!' 

If  one  looked  more  closely  at  the  matter  in  the  United  States,  one 
could  easily  see  that  the  question  of  religious  affiliation  was  almost 
always  posed  in  social  life  and  in  business  life  which  depended  on  per- 
manent and  credit  relations.  However,  as  mentioned  above,  the  Ameri- 
can authorities  never  posed  the  question.  Why? 

First,  a  few  personal  observations  [from  1904]  may  serve  as  illustra- 
tions. On  a  long  railroad  journey  through  what  was  then  Indian  terri- 
tory, the  author,  sitting  next  to  a  traveling  salesman  of  'undertaker's 
hardware'  (iron  letters  for  tombstones),  casually  mentioned  the  still 
impressively  strong  church-mindedness.  Thereupon  the  salesman  re- 
marked, 'Sir,  for  my  part  everybody  may  believe  or  not  believe  as  he 
pleases;  but  if  I  saw  a  farmer  or  a  businessman  not  belonging  to  any 
church  at  all,  I  wouldn't  trust  him  with  fifty  cents.  Why  pay  me,  if  he 
doesn't  believe  in  anything?'  Now  that  was  a  somewhat  vague  motiva- 

*  The  opening  by  prayer  of  not  only  every  session  of  the  U.  S.  Supreme  Court